Up-and-coming Wagga boxer Daniel Jeffries and his trainer (and uncle) Wilfred Williams have a unique way of communicating when things are heating up in the ring.
“We’re both really passionate and we do communicate a lot throughout the fight and we actually speak in Wiradjuri language,” said the 25-year-old fighter.
“I guess I take it for granted because I hear it all the time from Uncle Will, but when I think about it, it’s pretty powerful that cultural connection I have with my coach.”
Wilfred, a former rugby league player and boxer, explained that it helps him guide his protege without tipping off his opponent.
“I might be saying, ‘Watch his left hand’, and if they could understand it would give it away,” he said.
It’s been a big month for Dan who claimed the NSW Amateur Light Middleweight boxing title in Sydney after just three previous bouts.
He defeated Omari Wakilong in a unanimous points decision and credits his punishing training regime and tough love from his uncle for taking him the distance.
“We put in the work, we train very hard for any occasion, and that’s the mentality of Uncle Will’s training, it’s professional,” he explained.
“We took that fight on after just three fights and we came out on top through fitness and heart.”
Originally from Cowra, the Murrawarri and Wiradjuri man moved to Wagga after high school and decided to get serious about his boxing a couple of years ago.
“I’ve always been intrigued by Uncle Will’s training in the boxing game with his son (Joe Williams) and as a kid, he always taught me the boxing fundamentals every time we linked up in Wagga or when he travelled back to Cowra,” Dan said.
“Both my grandparents were boxers and Uncle Will was a previous fighter as well and has a (title) belt and we’re very passionate about it.
“I’d like to keep that legacy going from his training and then hopefully in the future, I can end up training some young fellas as well.”
Dan works in construction and trains hard and he believes that the discipline required to be a boxer can be a positive influence in the lives of young men.
“It helps to control aggression and it does promote healthy living, and that’s what I think needs to be promoted, not so much all about the dark things that have happened,” he explained.
“It will eliminate a lot of community problems if we promote this fighting culture and the healthy lifestyle that it brings.
“Even turning the other cheek when you are offered to fight in the street, you learn to do that through fighting. I don’t want to fight on the weekend. If you’ve got a fight coming up, you show your aggression in the ring on the night.”
While the pair keep their cards close when it comes to technique and training, they take a no-frills approach.
“You don’t need the big venues and flash gyms – results have been shown just through training and we’ve trained on the dirt and we’ve trained on the grass,” said Dan.
“We use local gyms for sparring with other opponents, but all our training has been in our shed, in our driveway, down the river and in parks.”
Looking to the future, Wilfred said that Dan has what it takes to be a professional fighter, but he remains philosophical.
“We go one fight at a time. We never ever get in front of ourselves,” he said.
“People ask us how we’re gonna go and we always say, ‘It’s already written’. The hard work’s been done, and it doesn’t matter what we want.
“You’re on a journey and you can’t stop that journey. It’s written. As much as you want to win, if it happens, you’ve gotta be gracious and if you lose you’ve got to say, ‘Thanks for the journey’.
“That’s the spiritual side of it,” added Dan.