KILLA INSTINCT: Paddy McWilliams has a bright future in boxing. A video posted online of the 14-year-old working the pads with his father Nigel led to a 12-month sponsorship from Killa Sports apparel. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
WORLD champion boxers Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tzsyu and Tim Tzsyu are handy men to have in your corner.
Mildura’s Paddy McWilliams has the backing of the above pugilists, a sure fire sign of his immense talent.
The 14-year-old out of Xtra 10% gym in Mildura already has a cult following, and that has only expanded following an online contest.
The young gun was the winner of a world-wide online video contest known as the ‘Killa Mitts Challenge’, put together by Killa Sports apparel. Boxers from around the world uploaded video footage of them working the pads and bags in training for the chance to win a variety of prizes, which included 12 months of free sponsorship, free apparel and more.
Paddy takes up the story from here.
“I think there were about 200 people from around the world who had entered, and the people from Killa picked their final five favourites, which I was part of,” he said.
“Then it was up to people to head to their Facebook page and vote for which video they liked the most to decide who won each prize.
“I thought I might have a chance, and I was pretty excited when I won.
“The sponsorship from Killa will help with gloves, clothes, making changes to the gym and a lot more.”
It is no wonder the young gun proved to be the people’s choice. He was, after all, nominated for the contest by Tim Tszyu, a rising star of boxing who happens to be the son of the great Kostya Tzsyu.
Despite weighing just 43 kilograms, Paddy packs a punch that could be felt in the future, as evidenced by his video entry.
He trains most days each week with his father Nigel at the boxing gym and personal training studio, and often trains with the legendary Jeff Fenech, an old friend of Nigel’s. Fenech is in fact one of Paddy’s biggest supporters.
“We were pretty excited when he won,” the proud father said.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the last year or so. Even if he didn’t win we said he should be proud for making the top five.
“Tim Tszyu actually nominated Paddy. Jeff Fenech is obviously like his second trainer so he promoted it a bit. I think the video won by about 700 votes.
“Instead of doing traditional pad work we’ve been aiming at making it a bit more realistic for what you would encounter in a boxing match.”
Speed and technique are Paddy’s biggest weapons, and continuing to improve those will be vital as he looks to enter the ring.
He had his first bout last year and is hoping for another half-a-dozen or so in 2019. His biggest issue, however, is finding opponents in the same weight class.
“Because of his size it’s hard to find kids of a similar weight to competitively spar or compete against,” Nigel said.
“We’re certainly looking. We know he’ll have a fight in Thailand later in the year which is exciting.”
Exciting is the optimum word to describe Paddy’s future in the ‘squared circle’.