A PAINTING hangs alongside the boxing ring that dominates the Kardinya home of freshly minted WBO light-flyweight champion Louisa Hawton.
The work of 15-year-old Quinn Fernando, son of Hawton’s housemate Shelley, it reads: “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.”
On Saturday, months of preparation – and setbacks – paid off for Hawton when she outpointed home-town favourite Kei Takenaka in Japan to join Danny Green and Erin McGowan as just the third ever West Australian to claim a world boxing title.
The bout came eight months later than originally planned but the outcome was made all the sweeter for the wait.
“I was meant to fight for the title against a South Korean boxer back in January and so I left my kids on Christmas Day and went to Thailand for a training camp,” Hawton said.
“A week before the fight, when we were ready to go, it got cancelled.
“Then we were given another date in February but that fell through too.
“It was difficult because I’d spent so much time and money going over to Thailand and I felt like I couldn’t rest because I didn’t know when the fight was going to come.
“I remember going running during that time and just falling to the ground in frustration because of all the emotion.”
The South Korean boxer, Eun Hye Lee, was eventually stripped of the WBO belt, setting up a showdown between Takenaka and Hawton for the vacant title earlier this month.
Hawton put on 3kg and jumped two weight classes for the fight, which came against an opponent 13cm taller and with a 7cm reach advantage.
“My trainer Mark Janssen is based in Albury (NSW) but he came over to Perth for a training camp in the lead up to the fight,” Hawton said.
“He kept a record and I did something like 12,000 push-ups, 30,000 sit-ups and ran close to 150km during that six-week period.”
Hawton flew to Japan almost a year to the day since her last professional fight and was forced to go the distance in her first ever 10 round bout.
“It’s summer over in Japan and the heat was unbearable; we were sweating just waiting to get into the ring and then there were thousands of people in the arena and you’re under the lights as well which just amplifies everything,” she said
“In the first couple of rounds I knew that I was behind a little bit but that was the plan from the beginning so that I could get my movement going and figure out her distance.
“By the sixth round I’d changed gears a bit and she started taking a few heavy shots, and then I dropped her in the tenth so I felt confident that I’d won.”
When Hawton’s victory was confirmed, her thoughts immediately jumped to the kids cheering for her back home; son Eli (9) and daughter Estelle (5), as well as Quinn and Shelley Fernando’s second son Quaid (10).
“I just felt so relieved that finally I’d achieved what I’d been dreaming of achieving was so happy that I could finally show the kids what I’d been working so hard for.
“Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that, and I think that what happened over this year up until now has made me really dig deep and find what is within me.
“It’s been good because the kids have seen that not everything comes easy, you’ve got to hard for what you are trying to achieve.”