FORMER NRL AND SUPER LEAGUE STAR MICHAEL WITT will re-unite with his amateur boxing coach Brendon Smith and make his professional debut on March 14 in Toowoomba as part of the Smithy Brings the big fights 9 card.
Witt, a Newtown Lions junior, only hung up his boots last year following a highly successful 12 year career which included stints at NRL clubs Parramatta, Manly, New Zealand and Saint George Illawarra. He also played four year’s in the UK Super League for the London Broncos and Celtic Crusaders and had one season with Otago in the New Zealand national rugby union competition.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always had that itch to get into the ring and fight,” Witt said.
“Now that my football career has ended I reached out to Brendon Smith and here we are.
Boxing isn’t completely foreign to Witt. As a youngster not only was he touted as a champion footballer in the making but also a champion boxer in the making.
As a part of Brendon Smith’s Charlton Boxing Club, Witt had nine amateur fights for six victories.
“”Michael was very talented as a junior, he had plenty of natural ability, “Brendon Smith said.
“When you look at what he achieved in his rugby league career, no one would argue that he made the right choice to pursue footy over boxing.
“However, I’m sure if he chose boxing over rugby league he would’ve been very successful as well, he had the makings of a champion boxer.
“”It’s an honour and a privilege to work with him, he’s a great sportsman but he’s also a great person.
Witt admits when he was weighing up the decision to turn his hand at professional boxing Brendon Smith was the only man he wanted in his corner.
“Ï wouldn’t do It with anyone else in the World,” Witt said.
“He’s some one I trust very much and to be able to link up with someone of Brendon’s stature is very humbling.
“”Ï love it here at Smithy’s Gym and every off season when I would come back home to Toowoomba I would always be in here and train with Brendon and the boys.
“No matter where I was playing footy, Australia, England or ,New Zealand I always stayed in contact with Brendon.
“I met up with him in England before one of Michael Katsidis ‘big fights over there and even carried the Australian flag out to one of his fights.
“Now to be here standing here today back in Smithy’s Gym as a professional boxer preparing to fight on as big a show as this – is exciting.
Witt has been in the gym for less than a week preparing for his pro debut, but after twelve years of training professionally as a rugby league player he’s no stranger to hard work.
Ï was never the most talented footballer during my career but I prided myself on hard work and that same work ethic will translate to my boxing.
“I’ve never shied away from hard work and I’m going to work my backside off and ‘ll be ready come March 14.
” I haven’t competed in any sport up here since I was sixteen, I still have a lot of family and many friends in Toowoomba and I look forward to having plenty of support on fight night” Witt said.
An opponent for Witt will be announced in the coming weeks.
“This has never been about anyone else, it’s never been about making a big fuss.
” Ït’s just something I’ve always had a burning desire to do.
“I’ll work my heart out,” Witt said