An Albury boxer who lost more than 70 kilograms in two years is now a state amateur champion.
Tony Kennedy clinched the Victorian amateur cruiserweight title in Melbourne in just his seventh time in the ring.
Boxing has been a big part of Kennedy's life since he took up the sport as an 18-year-old back in 2008, and it was the catalyst for a massive shift.
Kennedy tipped the scales at almost 157 kilograms in 2019, but lined up in the title bout at just 86.
"I was extremely overweight and unhappy," he said. "I had some weight loss surgery and got in touch with Melissa Currell who is a nutrition coach. She's changed my diet and tracked what I put in my body to fuel me for these fights.
"I had seven fights over 13 years so it was very on and off. This was my first title fight and I got the chocolates and came home with the belt."
Kennedy won his first fight in 2010, but it took until March this year to notch a second, before he improved his record to 3-4 with the title.
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The 31-year-old has worked with Rob Sharpe from Fight Gym in Albury, while veteran trainer John Frawley, who is considered the Border's version of Freddie Roach, trainer of world champion Manny Pacquiao, is in his corner for fights.
"They've been the driving force behind my success and put me through my paces," Kennedy said. "John really motivates me in the corner, tells me what needs to happen and keeps me calm between rounds so we can get the job done. I went in as the underdog, but I came out all guns blazing and put him on the back foot from the start.
"I won all four rounds and he really had no answers for what I was giving him."
Kennedy's next goal is to earn a place on the Victorian amateur team to contest the national titles at Townsville next year, but he doesn't want to put too much pressure on himself.
"I just do it for fun, it's not for fame and glory. If I win a few things along the way it's a bonus," he said.
"The gym is my go-to place when I'm feeling crap.
"I feel if I miss out on the gym a few too many days in a row I'm not quite myself. It's my happy place."
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