Champion Deniliquin boxer Rocco Prochilo Jr will train with world champion trainer Johnny Lewis when he moves to Sydney this year, in the hopes of making it to the Commonwealth Games in 2014.By Tyla Harrington
Deniliquin boxer Rocco Prochilo (pictured) will head to Sydney at the end of February to be mentored by six-time world champion trainer Johnny Lewis.
Prochilo will study engineering at Sydney University, where Lewis is head trainer of a renowned on-campus boxing club.
The orthodox boxer, who is the No.1 amateur middleweight in Victoria, will be training to win a place on the Commonwealth Games roster for 2014.
With a 9-3 win-loss record, Prochilo believes his goal is not out of reach.
‘‘It’s insane really; he’s (Lewis) the head coach of a really big club at the university,’’ Prochilo said.
‘‘When I went on the guided tour (of the university) that was what really persuaded me (to go there). The guy said the boxing is really impressive there.’’
Prochilo said he believed being trained by Lewis depended on how serious you were with boxing.
‘‘I plan on having a crack at the Commonwealth Games, so I’m pretty serious.
‘‘When I was 16 I was almost the national champ .
Lewis visits the university twice a week and is expected to take on the talented teenager, whose most recent loss came off the back of wins over Victoria’s No.1 and No.2 middleweight fighters.
Lewis is known as one of the sport’s greats, having trained world champion Australian boxers Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tszyu and Jeff Harding.
His reputation as a trainer led to him being inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
‘‘I’ve heard amazing things about him (Lewis),’’ Prochilo said.
‘‘I’ve heard he teaches you how to want to do it (make it in boxing).’’
While knowing how to want to make it in boxing may seem easy enough, Prochilo said it would be a lot more difficult than it sounded.
And he’s not certain how much ‘‘face-time’’ he will get with Lewis, but said he was just happy to be a part of his gym.
The 19 year-old even expected he would quit boxing when he left for university.
‘‘All I can say is I don’t like sitting on the couch, and I’m a bit naturally good at it (boxing).
‘‘Every time I think about quitting, I end up thinking ‘of course not’.
‘‘It was just when I lost the last fight (I thought about it more) I wasn’t really happy,’’ he admitted.
When Prochilo moves his career to Sydney he will ‘‘practically start from the bottom’’, which ‘‘isn’t a bad thing’’.
He also plans to get what he hopes will be some easy wins under his belt early.
‘‘No one will know how good I am,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m definitely looking forward to it .
Prochilo, who has trained at Golden Rivers Boxing Club for four years under Roy Lynn, expects he’ll train for two months before stepping into the ring.
‘‘I’ll miss Roy and the club.
‘‘I’ll be visiting them every time I’m home. I’ve definitely enjoyed it (at Golden Rivers); it’s been rewarding.
‘‘I think the Sydney training will be 10 times the intensity’’.
Lynn paid tribute to his prize fighter, as well Thomas Mathewson, who will also leave Golden Rivers Boxing Club this year to attend university.
Mathewson, who is not sure whether he’ll continue boxing, is off to Charles Sturt University in Wagga where he will study accountancy.
‘‘They have been the best in the state and have been very competent on the national stage,’’ Lynn said.
‘‘They have beaten many state champions, won many trophies and it has always been a pleasure to train them.
‘‘Golden Rivers will miss them.’’
The Boxing Club also held its presentation night late last month.
It was the last event for the year on the boxing calendar, and saw the majority of boxers attend.
He praised the younger competitors, ‘‘who have done well all year’’ and sent thanks to Golden Rivers president Rocco Prochilo Senior for his donations to the raffles.
Time keeper Heather Rose and her partner Roy Sym, who sell raffle tickets and travel to all parts of Australia to support the competitors, must also be thanked he said.
Encouragement awards - Keely Leetham, Carrisa Holmberg, Penny Henson, Reagan Leetham, Tyler ‘Tab’ Amore-Beale, Matt Thomas, Tom Dowling, Trevor Butcher, Tom Butcher, Daniel Ledwidge.
Contests of the year - Ross Prochilo, Thomas Mathewson, Rocco Prochilo (two awards).
Special award - Baily Caruso.
Trainers award - David Caruso, Paul Johnston, Duncan McQuie.
Sportsman of the year - Rocco Prochilo.
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