Jeff Horn comes to Warwick
WARWICK was stung by a world champion-sized hornet this afternoon, with the effects to be felt long after his departure.
Jeff Horn was a special guest at the Mayoral Leadership Lunch held at Warwick Town Hall today, however his appearance has a special significance for one of the Rose City's brightest young boxing talents.
Queensland champion Jake Wyllie has further aspirations in boxing, and said the presence of the world champion in Warwick was inspirational.
"I've met Jeff a few times at the Golden Gloves and through the association,” Wyllie said.
"He's someone that would always talk to you and down to earth.
"Now he is definitely someone I look up to, as he started where I did.”
Warwick Boxing Club president Mick Gaffney said himself and others were overjoyed by Horn's presence.
"He's such a good role model, and he'd be able to turn the lives of a lot of kids around,” Gaffney said.
"It's a real positive to have him here, and to see the look on Jake's face was great.
"He's stoked to be here and is over the moon.”
Horn said it was a privilege to come to Warwick and spread his positive message, particularly to up-and- comers like Wyllie.
"Everyone needs it (advice) and you can feel isolated being away from a big city but, if you try hard and are successful in whatever you do, you can do it anywhere,” Horn said.
"Guys like Jake need to keep pushing, keep training hard in the gym and keep believing in themselves.
"I feel proud to be a Queenslander to have done what I have. It's definitely going to live with me forever.”
The man known as 'The Hornet' dazzled the crowd of more than 150, recounting how he turned tough times in the school playground to competing at the Olympics.
"Back in school I was bullied. I would get into a lot of fights that I didn't win,” he said.
"In Year 10, I got slapped in the face after myself and a few others were a group target. I got so frustrated by it, so I took up boxing classes for self defence.
"From there I met my current coach, Glenn Rushton, and had my first fight at 20.”
Horn turned professional in 2013, and the biggest moment of his career came in July, after he defeated Manny Pacquiao.
" It was a sense of relief and elation when my name was called out,” he said.
"I had goosebumps all over and still get them whenever I think about it.
"Before the fight there were voices in my head about people underestimating me, which I used to train harder and as motivation.
"I remember I got smashed in the ninth round of the fight and was told by the referee he would stop the fight if I didn't show anything.
"That's where the voices came back, and I said I would come out and give it 100 percent, which won me the fight.”
The visit of Horn continues a boon period for boxing in the Rose City, with developments underway at the Warwick Boxing Club, and Australian Olympic coach Don Abnett paying a visit to the club late last month.