Return to pack a punch
ISLAND Sands boxing coach Russell Thompson is preparing for an emotional homecoming this weekend when he returns to Warwick RSL for the first time in 20 years.
After the passing of his father, his trainer Sel Brackin, Brackin's wife Joan and his scientific boxing trainer Ken Bateman, Thompson wants to show his hometown how those four people shaped him as a trainer with his entourage of young fighters.
“We'll all be wearing black armbands on the weekend,” Thompson said.
“It will be emotional, but to go back there with a team of fighters is a dream come true; the biggest thrill of it all is that it's my home town.”
Thompson is taking a strong team of five fighters back to his old stomping ground, with Jordan Lindley and Zac O'Connor ready to impress alongside Zac Challis, Kallan Peebles and Kadeesha Challis who are set to make their debut on the night.
“They'll do really well; they're all pumped up,” Thompson said.
Of particular interest will be young Kadeesha Challis, part of the wave of females getting into boxing. The 14-year-old fiery fighter has made quite an impression on Thompson.
“Kadeesha has been fighting really good; she's been sparring the blokes because she's got no girls to spar with and she's been dropping blokes with body shots so she's ready to fire,” he said.
“We're getting heaps of girls coming through. They all start off just wanting to do it for fitness but then after three or four months they say ‘can I start sparring?'”
After an impressive performance last month at Gladstone PCYC, 20-year-old Zac O'Connor is looking to improve on his two wins from five fights and has trained well leading up to the big night.
“Zac's been doing some extra training to get his fitness up again. He's been cranky all week and usually when he's cranky it means he's going to win,” Thompson said.
Jordan Lindley, who gave away nine kilograms to his opponent at Gladstone PCYC's fight night last month, will also be out to square his record, which currently sits at seven wins and eight losses.
“Jordy is forever training hard in the gym so he's out for big things as well,” Thompson said.
“His spirits are still high after the last tournament.”
Nine-year-old Harry ‘the Pitbull' Connell will also be on show in an exhibition match after five solid months of sparring, and Thompson said there are big things coming in the Pitbull's future.
Island Sands is the only club from the region attending the tournament, which is set to have 25 fights on the card featuring competitors from Brisbane, New South Wales and beyond.
The club is taking a busload of supporters along to Warwick for the tournament and Thompson is anticipating a blockbuster.
“We're expecting a big night,” he said.