DANNIEL Burton’s success in developing talented young boxers has not gone unnoticed.
The Bendigo trainer has been appointed coach of the Victorian team for the National Under-Age Championships in Perth next month.
Burton will take charge of a team of 32 youth, junior and school-age boxers, including Bendigo young gun Jake May and one fighter from his own Hit Factory gym in Golden Square, Milli Woods.
He said his elevation to the head-coaching role was something he had not expected following four years as an assistant coach.
Burton added he had little time to dwell on his appointment, with the first Victorian team training set for this Saturday in Collingwood.
“We only have about six weeks to prepare,” he said.
“They’ve sprung the national titles on us pretty early in the year, so we’ll fit another two training sessions in there after Saturday.
“My plan is to get the team really unified and strong and close as a team.”
The state team was only finalised last weekend at the end of the Victorian Under-Age Championships.
Burton praised the performance of rival gym boxer May as “superb” in winning his 48kg division for the third consecutive year.
“He fought really strongly – he was fit and strong,” he said.
“He’s a top age junior and you can see just what an extra year does in maturity.”
May, who trains in Bendigo under Frank Pianto at his Pianto Boxing Academy, was a silver medallist last year in Adelaide, at his first attempt at the national championships.
Burton was hopeful of matching the team’s strong effort of last year, when it qualified boxers in four of seven divisions for the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas, including his own fighter Tully Scanlon.
He expects perennial powerhouse Queensland to provide toughest competition.
“Queensland enters every division …. Victorian won’t,” he said.
“I think this year we have got 42kg and then nothing until 48kg and then nothing again until 56kg, but they will have someone in every division.
“When it’s all over they win the most medals, but they also have by far the most competitors.”
Burton said he could not have been prouder of 15-year-old Woods, who booked her trip to Perth by winning back-to-back fights at the state titles last weekend.
“She did everything I asked of her,” he said.
Burton revealed Scanlon, who gained a walk-through at this year’s state titles when no other fighters entered his division, would not make the trip to Perth, but is instead focusing on his VCE studies.
However, he is expected to train with the Victorian team in Melbourne this weekend.