Birrell boxes brilliantly
JAMIE Birrell took up boxing a few years ago to get fit, but the move has returned much more than fitness – the Wallu resident is now an Australian title holder.
Birrell took the Global Amateur Boxing Australian Title in the 96-plus kilogram division with a big-points win in Roma.
Global Amateur Boxing embraces more than 60 clubs in Western Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Tasmania, Vanuatu, and Queensland.
In Gympie, Birrell is trained by Neil Harmon who said the young super-heavyweight had a big future in front of him after his latest win, but that he still needed a couple of years in the amateur ranks before considering a step up to the professional arena.
The trip to Roma was hastily arranged with Harmon and Birrell making the long trek out on the day of the fight after only receiving confirmation on the Saturday morning that the fight was definitely on.
“I didn’t know until about 8am on the morning that the title fight was definitely on,” Birrell said. “It was only organised the night before.
“It was to be over six rounds but my opponent only wanted to fight over four, two-minute rounds.”
Birrell, weighing in at 105 kilograms, fought Renee Toua, who tipped the scales at 123kg for the title. The two had met previously and the same result prevailed in the title fight.
Harmon said his fighter had the superior fitness and this proved the winning factor.
“He (Birrell) hit him with a body shot in the third round that brought a standing count, and then in the fourth there were two standing counts on the big boy from Roma.”
Birrell has had about 16 fights since he started competitive boxing a couple of years ago and is undefeated in the super-heavyweight ranks, but has also had to fight lighter and faster heavyweights (90kg plus) to get ring experience, Harmon said.
“It has been tip and run for the heavyweights because they have been worried about getting hit by Jamie. It has been tip and run. If he caught up with them it was all over but he’s lost a few on points.”
Birrell said after winning the title he intended to have a rest and start afresh in the new year back at the gym at the Gympie Cats AFL clubhouse.
“I’ll have a rest – there is not much else left to do – (and) look to defend my title in my new year,” he said.
“I’ll probably go professional one day but I need more experience first; work on the defence and learn more about taking a hit.”
Birrell, who lives at Wallu near Tin Can Bay, does much of his fitness training running through the nearby forestry up and down the hills, as well as the gym work at the Cats and sparring sessions at Darren Obah’s Kunda Park gym, a regime he intends to follow again next year.
“There is no one in my division I haven’t beaten, but there are some guys coming back next year in the super-heavyweight division, so I have to make sure I am fit before I fight again,” he said.
Curently, boxing training is Birrell’s sole sporting activity, but he has considered making a comeback to the rugby league field at some stage – a game he played as a junior.