MILLI Woods has a key attribute that will take her as far in boxing as she is willing, according to her Bendigo-based trainer Danniel Burton, owner of the Hit Factory gym in Golden Square.
“She has really high endurance and when I realised she had that fitness, I thought bell to bell, we have got to work hard, that is her strength,” he said.
The strategy paid off in the National Under-Age Championships in Perth two weeks ago from which Woods returned with a gold medal in her 48 kilogram division.
The 15-year-old trained five-days-a-week leading up to the championships.
It is a work rate that Burton, who is also the Victorian team coach, says is outstanding for her age and a big part of her success.
“Her work rate is so good, (her opponents) have to work really hard to catch her so she has a big advantage.”
But Burton is mindful of the big picture for his athletes.
Another in his Hit Factory stable, Tully Scanlon, did not travel to Perth because he is studying for his VCE.
Scanlon qualified for the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas last year.
His success inspired Woods to get serious about the sport after only a year of training, prompted by her police sergeant father Adam Woods who was setting up the Blue Light boxing program with help from Burton.
“I needed more kids to come along and Milli enjoyed it in the beginning for the fitness part of it,” Sergeant Woods said.
Her fitness was immediately noticed by Burton.
“I do a sweat test, so when they are training I look at their forehead and I see who has sweated and I remember for the first six months seeing Milli didn’t even have a sweat up,” he said.
“It wasn’t because she wasn’t trying hard, it was because she was already super fit.”
Her next step, if she is willing and Woods says she is, is to compete as a youth, which will allow her to compete for Australia.
“Hopefully I will win at nationals so I can go to the next level,” she said.
“I would like to just try and get as far as I can.”
Burton is confident Woods will do well if she decides to continue fighting.
“She will fight at 49kg next year, she will make that division easily and she is still a lot taller than half of the 54kg girls,” he said.
“(Her opponents) have to get close to her but she is so long and throws so many punches, she doesn’t have to get close to them.”
Boxing is a small circle in Australia, he said, but along with the technical aspect of the sport that focuses on point scoring in bouts, “there is the other side where you like to get to the job done”.
“Milli likes to get the job done.”
– Sharon Kemp