What started out as a way to lose weight at the age of 12 has become a passion and potential career for young boxer, Lynken Dickson.
Life as an amateur or even a professional boxer is fraught with insecurity and Lynken believes that having a plan B, in the form of a traineeship, has enabled him to feel secure enough to go for gold with his boxing. The young boxer, who became the Junior World Champion in 2012, now has his sights set on the Olympics.
“I had my first fight at 12, I just wanted to get fit and lose a bit of weight because I wanted to get fit for football,” says Lynken.
Now six years later, football has taken a back seat to his boxing career.
“I played first grade football last year but my first priority is boxing because I feel I can take it further. Boxing’s in my family, it’s in my blood, my dad and all my uncles on both sides were boxers.”
For the young boxer, who was brought up in Narromine and now lives in Tamworth, boxing has become a full-time job, he trains twice a day for up to two hours each session. But it wasn’t always that way. Lynken says to get to where he is today he had to juggle school and a traineeship, something he says he couldn’t have done without the help of the Aboriginal Employment Service (AES).
“I was in year ten when I was first assisted by the AES. They helped me to apply for the job, got me the job interview and supported me all the way along,” says Lynken. “They’ve been very supportive of me and they were always interested in not only how my traineeship was going but how my boxing was going. It was that flexibility and support around my sport that helped me to complete my traineeship in the bank. I studied business services at TAFE while working as a teller at the bank, completing school and boxing.”
While boxing has always been Lynken’s main priority he says he understands the need for a job and training that will support him throughout his sporting career.
“Boxing is always my number one priority but it’s important to have a back-up plan as I don’t rely on boxing to make a living. The traineeship with the AES gave me a big head start towards my working career and next year I’ll be looking at going to university to study agri-business which is something I may not have considered if I hadn’t completed my bank traineeship. Jason and Natalie from the AES in Tamworth went out of their way and did things they didn’t have to do to support me and I honestly don’t think I would have succeeded in my traineeship if I didn’t have that sort of support.”
Lynken says having a back-up plan in place has given him the confidence to pursue his dream of boxing Olympic gold.
“My ultimate goal is to go to the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio and to eventually turn pro and then see how I go from there, but at the moment I need to stay amateur so I can work towards competing in the Olympics.”
The Olympic trial selections will be held in October and in the meantime it’s back to his daily training sessions. Lynken currently has two trainers, Mike Abra as well as his dad Chris Dickson. Lynken admits that having your dad as your trainer can be tricky but says when he’s training it’s important to try to forget that Chris is his father.
“My dad showed me a bit about boxing when I was young then Mike became my main trainer. These days they both train me at the same time. Sometimes it gets hard when your dad’s your trainer but you have to try to separate from it. I see him as my trainer when I’m training and my dad when I’m at home – it was hard to do that when I was young but as you grow older you get used to it. I have to admit I probably listen to him more as a trainer than I do as a parent,” Lynken laughs.
Lynken has also been traveling from Tamworth to Sydney each fortnight for training in the lead-up to the Australian Titles in Brisbane and will continue to travel to Sydney until the October Olympic Trails. The training is a huge financial commitment and anyone who would like to support Lynken and his family or assist with travel, accommodation costs or other support should contact the AES in Tamworth on (02) 6766 9388 to find out how they can help this young Olympic hopeful.