WHEN Hayden ‘H-Bomb’ Wright steps in the ring with current NSW cruiserweight champion Nick Midgley, he will have High Wycombe resident Panidis (39) cheering him on as one of his biggest supporters.
Wright, a full-time support worker for the Activ Foundation, has been mentoring Mr Panidis for the past three years.
“John has autism and intellectual disabilities, and he saw a picture of me boxing and asked if I could teach him,” he said.
“He attended a private boxing session with my coach Trevor ‘187’ Loomes and took to it like a duck to water.
“This has led to John becoming my training partner, helping me out with a range of tasks including motivating me to keep pushing and getting on board with my workouts. John inspires me to train harder.”
Wright said he had seen first-hand the positive impact the role had had on Mr Panidis.
“His New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and be more active in the community and through his role as my training partner, he is achieving these goals.
“John has become more social within his community and is improving his listening and talking skills.”
Wright started boxing at the age of 15 and turned professional in 2015.
“I grew up watching the Rocky movies and it was my dream to be a boxer but everybody laughed at me,” he said. “It was amazing to be crowned the Metro Heavyweight Champ last year and my ultimate goal is to take back that title.”
Wright will fight Midgley on March 16 at Metro City. If successful Wright will then take on an undefeated WA opponent on May 11 at Metro City.