PCYC Bundaberg’s Deadly Boxing Academy breaking down barriers

Brainchild of Malachi Johnson and supported by PCYC Bundaberg branch manager Sergeant John Kendall, the Deadly Boxing Academy was formed to help break down the barriers between police and young indigenous and non-indigenous people in the Bundaberg community, using boxing to interact positively through sport.

With Malachi and Sergeant Kendall both sharing a common interest in boxing as former coaches and fighters, the boxing program has grown steadily over the last year. Taking the program into local schools and run with the Indigenous Girls Academy, the boxing academy has introduced more than 30 young indigenous people as well as police officers to the sport, and the group trains together at least three times a week.

Sergeant Kendall is incredibly proud of the program, and the results he has seen.

“We have seen a huge turnaround in a number of young people’s lives who were previously disengaged. These kids have started turning up to school just to see Malachi and be a part of the program,” he said.

“This is something that school principals are praising us for as they cannot believe how much some of these kids have actually changed their behaviour for the better, and this is directly as a result of the great work Malachi has done to build trust and respect with these young people.”

Many of the young boxers now attend the program at the school, and also engage in the program at the Deadly Boxing Academy at PCYC Bundaberg, with two fighters recently achieving great results, one winning a Queensland title and another selected to the New Zealand National titles.

Aaliyah Watson, who has been part of the Deadly Boxing Academy since the beginning and said she had made friends and developed positive relationships with police.

“When I was younger I was a bit afraid of the officers but doing this program has helped me overcome that fear,” she said.

The Deadly Boxing Academy is not only improving relationships and creating positive experiences with local police, Malachi is passionate about teaching young people about indigenous youth culture LORE (share, care and respect), and how to speak the gooreng gooreng language which is the land that they fight on.

“Malachi loves his culture and loves teaching others about it with absolute passion, respect and pride. He teaches from the heart and he teaches young indigenous people about important aspects of their culture that they may have never known before,” said Sergeant Kendall.

“This program is creating positive outcomes for young indigenous and non-indigenous people, local police and the whole Bundaberg community,” he said.

Click here for great ABC media coverage on the program, or click here to find out more about PCYC Bundaberg.