Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) June 29, 2011 -- Australian boxing greats Solomon Haumono and Solomon Egberime will be among a group of fighters and trainers who will rehabilitate at-risk youths by teaching them to fight.
Anglican parish priest Father Dave Smith, also a professional boxer, has been using the boxing ring for several years as a way of reaching young people in Sydney's inner West. This weekend he's taking his formula to kids in the bush with the opening of a new fighting facility at Binacrombi, near Goulburn.
The program aims to take groups of young people on intensive fitness courses as a way of teaching them self discipline and improving their self esteem. They will include young people who are on parole or who have been referred by youth crisis centres, though the emphasis will be on preventative programs - getting young people back on the right track before they get lost in drugs and criminal behavior.
"We find that the more 'at-risk' a young person is, the more they want to fight. Fight training is thus the most natural way to transition them into a lifestyle of greater discipline and integrity," says Father Dave.
"We feel that we've uncovered a hidden treasure - something our generation somehow lost. Teaching young people to fight in a disciplined and nurturing environment is a wonderfully effective way of helping them grow into responsible adults."
The facility, 10 years in the making, contains a gym, a boxing ring and a UFC-style wrestling cage. It complements the other facilities at Binacrombi, which include trail bike riding, 4x4 driving, fishing and bushwalking.
Trainers will include Haumono and Egberime, who hope to impart skills that will equip young clients for a career in the fitness industry, as well as increase their fitness and pugilistic skills.
"I am hopeful that our new bush gym will become a centre of growth in both fitness and self-discovery for young people across this country," says Haumono.
Solomon Haumono, Solomon Egberime and Father Dave Smith are available for interview.