After a 12-year hiatus, Echuca's Daria Atkinson is hoping to revive her boxing career.ERIN LYONS August 16, 2014 3:04am
Daria Atkinson with Garner’s Boxing Gym boxers (from left) Matthew Timbs, Cameron O’Hehir, Jason Garner with son Jesse Garner, Anthony Heald and Gerard Elliott.
The year 2002 might seem like a distant memory to most, but for Echuca resident Daria Atkinson it feels like a lifetime ago.
It had been more than a decade since the 32-year old let her gloves fly in the boxing ring, but the former Australian title holder is determined to fight again.
Atkinson’s previous competitive event was 12 years ago when she fought at the Australian Amateur Boxing League National Championships.
‘‘I fought in two weight divisions, the first one I lost but the second one I won,’’ Atkinson said.
‘‘I lost the light-middle weight but I also fought in a heavier division which I won.’’
The boxing powerhouse also holds a state title.
‘‘I have also got the Victorian title as well. For amateur light-middle weight,’’ she said.
Unfortunately Atkinson’s trail of success was cut short when she landed herself full-time employment.
‘‘I started working at a doctors’ surgery and it was really stressful,’’ she said.
‘‘I found training full-time and working full-time really hard.’’
While Atkinson initially surrendered to focus on her career, her current position as an Aboriginal project officer fuelled her decision to get back into the ring.
‘‘I work in Aboriginal health trying to close the gap and improve the life expectancy of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander patients,’’ she said.
‘‘I was overweight and trying to improve the life expectancy of others when I was so unhealthy myself.
‘‘I am also at risk of all those chronic illnesses so I thought I better get back into it.’’
It has been two months since Atkinson started training again and she has adequate confidence in her recent progress that she will be ready to compete by the end of the year.
‘‘I have set a goal to have an exhibition fight by Christmas,’’ she said.
‘‘I want to get a few more amateur titles under my belt and then my goal is to have a few professional fights.’’
The boxing enthusiast is committed to training every night even though she travels a lot for work.
‘‘When I found out the gym (Garner’s Boxing Gym) was open again I came down,’’ she said.
‘‘After I got back into it I just thought wow I just want to fight again.’’
Atkinson revealed her natural boxing talents at the age of 18 after she met her former trainer Barry Quinlan at church.
‘‘He (Barry Quinlan) said he was opening up a gym so I went to try it,’’ she said.
‘‘He said I had the skills for fighting.’’
While travelling for work makes scheduling in time for training challenging for Atkinson, she is determined to make her way back to the top of the leaderboard.
Atkinson trains with mentor Jason Garner at Garner’s Boxing Gym in Echuca.
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