State titles on the line
By ADAM HICKS
AT their weights they could be jockeys, but horses be warned: These boys pack a punch!
Northern Rivers boxers Billy 'The Kid' Robinson and Timacoy Williams are shaping up for title shots at the NSW Boxing Championships this weekend.
Robinson, a 15-year-old southpaw from Lismore, is heading down to Griffth to fight for a cadets title in the 48kg division.
Sixteen-year-old Williams from Goonellabah is one of the favourites to win the 52kg cadets division.
Robinson's trainer, Arthur Maloney, said The Kid was the brightest prospect to come through Maloney's Glove Club since former Australian bantamweight champion Johnny Binge.
"He is very clever," Maloney said.
"He beat a lot of good fighters around the local area.
"He's just a very good straight puncher, very nimble on his feet, has good defence, a good body puncher, he is a pretty good all-rounder."
The championships should see Robinson continue the good form that won him 10 of his past 11 fights.
"I give him a very good chance of winning the title," Maloney said.
"He is the first one to get into the gym and the last one to leave.
"He really works hard.
"He has talent, and his keenness, he just doesn't want to stop training. And he's got ambitions of representing Australia."
A State title would be just reward for Robinson who started boxing at the age of 10 and had to travel to Queensland to get a fight when he was 14.
He had a patchy record in his early career, winning only two of his first 10 fights, but he has turned it all around with hard work.
"He has a little bit of larrikin in him and he loves his boxing," Maloney said.
Robinson's enthusiasm has injected a spark of excitement into Maloney who has been involved in the local boxing scene for decades.
"I've been in it (boxing) for that long I'm getting near the completion of my coaching days," Maloney said.
"He is giving me that little shot in the arm to keep me going.
"I really think he can go a long way."
Williams will go into the championships buoyed by representing Australia at the World Junior Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan earlier this year.
Training full-time at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Williams will be hard to beat at State level, according to his father and former trainer Jason.
"I give him a good chance," he said.
"I think he'll go to the Australian titles this year.
"He is very fit, very strong and lean.
"He has a long reach and does lots of preparation with his forehand, sets up his attack and he's very fast, lightning fast."
Williams has been at the AIS for six months since he was discovered by the Australian Sports Commission indigenous Talent Identification Program.
Under the supervision of national indigenous coach Don Ablett, Williams trains two times a day, six days a week.
Warren Cootes, from the Grafton Amateur Boxing Club, will be travelling to the championships with Robinson to compete in the 17-18 years division.