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IN 2007, Gary Thwaites had the fright of his life when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Early detection and surgery to remove his prostate led to a full recovery and now, at the age of 53, Detective Sergeant Thwaites is taking on the country’s best veteran boxers at the Australian Masters Games, being held in Adelaide from October 3 to 10.
Determined to make the most of his health after his fight against cancer, the Spearwood resident, who is a regular contributor to our StreetWatch pages, took up boxing, something he had always loved. “I used to stay up late watching boxing on TV with my dad when I was a little boy, but I’d never taken the time to participate myself,” he said.
A corporate boxing event gave him the chance to give it a go four years ago, in front of 1000 people.
“I had to fight someone 20 years younger than me and I lost, but I had the best black eye in the world,” he said.
“I thought one fight might quell my itch but it didn’t and I wanted the chance to fight again and try to square the ledger.”
At the Masters Games, Det Sgt Thwaites will be fighting against men his own age and weight, with similar experience and “hopefully with a Zimmer frame”.
“Now my chances are as good as anybody else’s,” he said.
Swallowing a diet of boxing videos and training up to five times a week at Myaree’s Gloveworkx gym, Det Sgt Thwaites is feeling nervous but quietly confident.
“After I had prostate cancer I re-evaluated my life,” Det Sgt Thwaites said.
“Life is too short and there is no point in having regrets. I want to cram as much as I possibly can in because you don’t know when your time is up,” he said.