Tony 'Hitman' Hawkins is gearing up for the biggest night of his professional career as he takes on 'Irish' Binny Folan for the converted Nitro title in Metro City, Western Australia this Saturday night.
Hawkins, however, did not have the traditional start in boxing, having learned boxing in not the most conventional of ways.
Tenacious Tony opened up, "I actually first laced up the gloves when I was in prison, which unfortunately was a part of my younger years as I wasn't the greatest of kids growing up. I didn't leave school with any qualifications, and I ended up going down the wrong path in life and ended up in jail. Fortunately, boxing saved me and despite spending the prime years of my career behind bars, I have managed to turn things around thanks to boxing.
"I reconciled with my father and I learnt a trade, working in the resource sector, and that has helped me maintain a stable life which has rolled into my boxing career and brought me success, winning the WBF Masters title and the Ringside Masters World Championships in Kansas."
Hawkins now bases himself out of the Peak 1 Boxing Club in Western Australia under the guidance of Mickey Hale. Tony discussed his relationship with Hale and the team at Peak 1.
He said, "Mickey Hale was part of the Parachute Regiment in the British Army as well as a boxer for the Armed Forces in the U.K. where I am originally from. Mick served all over the world with the British Army and his wife Claire served in the Police Service in the U.K. for a long period of time too. They are really standup people as is everyone in the gym.
"They've taught me not just about becoming a better fighter but becoming a better person. I have spent time in amazing gym's in Bali and in the Mayweather camp in Las Vegas and I have learned unique lessons everywhere, but possibly none more than at Peak 1 Boxing in W.A. It really is more than a gym it is a home to everyone and it is full of unique and special people who have got me ready for a devastating performance on the Thunderdome show this weekend."