Des and Helen Upton?s home
Des and Helen Upton?s home

Boxers outgrow home

By RACHAEL BORICH ? IT'S just another afternoon with everyone winding down after work, but this time of the day is just the start of the rush hour at Des Upton's Rockhampton home.

At 4pm from Monday to Thursday every week Des and his fellow boxing trainer Ken Vella can work with up to 16 young boxers under Upton's house in south Rockhampton.

Throw into the equation some young fighters' families and it is a full house at the Uptons' ? this full house goes into overdrive if Des and Helen's grandchildren are visiting, which is sometimes 10 at a time.

"I look after the boxing and mother (Helen) looks after the kids,'' Des said.

The picture is complete with some understanding neighbours. It is just a way of life for the Blackwater PCYC Boxing Club Rockhampton-based trainer.

Boxing has been a lifetime passion for Des who first stepped into the ring as a young man in Mitchell.

Having to travel to places like Charleville and Cunnumulla just to get a fight soon took its toll.

When Des hit his 30s he arrived in Rockhampton and again showed an interest in the sport.

However, it wasn't until 1986 that he started the Bluff QRI Boxing Club and later the Blackwater PCYC club in 1989.

It was during his years in Bluff that he linked up with Vella, who is also now based in Rockhampton. The Blackwater-based trainers are Kelly Conway, Lex McLeod and Sam Serio.

A passion for the sport and the people he works with keeps Des, 66, going.

"I haven't struck a bad kid in boxing yet,'' Des said. "Some of them get a bit cheeky, but I enjoy that.''

The couple's home is hopefully just a temporary training venue with the club hoping to relocate to the Rockhampton PCYC.

They have already received a grant to establish a slab under the PCYC building and now hope a boxing tournament at the venue on July 16 will help raise the additional funds to make a permanent move.

"In the summer months it's all right here (at home), but it's getting darker earlier now and the lighting system under the house isn't all that good,'' Des said.

This group continues to overcome the odds and is readily found hitting the road to support boxing tournaments throughout Queensland. Tomorrow they step into the ring in Blackwater.

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