DANNIEL Burton has spent 12 years helping teenagers turn their aggression into something positive.
Young people flock to his Bendigo gym The Hit Factory each night, to train in boxing.
Most take part for free.
The training is more than an outlet for these teenagers. It's also helped dozens build relationships with adults and opened up employment opportunities.
Mr Burton began The Hit Factory as a space for young people to come in and get some anger out, instead of running around town.
Simply, he'd seen a need.
The space has a professional boxing ring, with a work out gym alongside.
Now about 40 teenagers come to each evening class at the Hit Factory, run four nights a week.
"I was a kid growing up in Bendigo, there was nothing like it. We ran around town, silly, and didn't have a place we could just drop in, get some peer support from older men," Mr Burton said.
"I was involved in a boxing gym training, and just saw the need ... saw the kids weren't always coming in just to be boxers. They were coming in to get away from the street, and do something a bit more positive.
"I said, 'Let's not make it just about boxing, let's make it about training'."
The Hit Factory has snowballed in the past three years. The gym has doubled in size physically, it's got a youth hub and a recreational area.
The gym even has a coffee van out the back, where Mr Burton plans to run barista courses to help teenagers get employment opportunities.
The training comes with the support of Victoria Police youth engagement program Blue Light, once known for its eponymous discos.
Those disco days might be long gone, but after a hiatus the police have brought the organisation back to Bendigo.
Mr Burton said the group approached him to work together, after seeing his boxing program. A couple of officers help him out training the group.
"[They] realised that fitness, getting the kids fit and healthy, getting them off the street was a lot better than having Blue Light [Disco] now and again," he said.
Police support has opened up doors for Mr Burton, gaining help from organisations previously reluctant to endorse boxing.
Mr Burton said teenagers gained positive role models while working out with the adult boxers.
I was a kid growing up in Bendigo, there was nothing like it. We ran around town, silly, and didn't have a place we could just drop in, get some peer support from older men.Danniel Burton
The young boxers just "get amongst" the adults, he said. It builds relationships, and forms a foundation that Mr Burton believes is missing from many young people today: handshakes, eye contact, conversation face-to-face.
"Whether they just come in here to train and get fit, they learn them basic skills," Mr Burton said.
"At the same time the kids are in here, all my adult boxers are in here. So they might not click with one of the adults, but they might click with [another].
"The kids who probably don't do that well at school, who are looking for apprenticeships, I've got every tradie in here. So they form a relationship and word of mouth. Because they see their work ethic and how they train, it builds relationships and employment."
Read more: Bendigo Blue Light building new youth hub
Girls make up about 60 per cent of those in the classes
Their numbers have soared during the past two years.
Among them is 17-year-old Milli Woods, who has won two Australian national boxing titles. Mr Burton said he thinks young girls have seen what Woods is doing, and joined.
Boxing might have a reputation for violence, but Mr Burton said training young people in the sport teaches them its value as a skill.
"My theory is that people who act out on the street are doing it because they're intimidated or scared," he said.
"Once they come in here, they're actually using it for positive not negative. They learn the value of it, it becomes a skill and an art.
"They're in here training five nights a week, getting punches thrown at them. The last thing they want is to go outside the gym and do it."
Read more: Knock out year for Milli Woods
It's the kids that keep Mr Burton going. Like Woods, the young ones will represent their country, he said.
And the gym is getting to build all sorts of other things - like the coffee van - to help teenagers.
Mr Burton himself has been boxing on and off since he was a child. But there was nothing then like what he does now, and he fell away.
As an adult, he could see younger kids coming through his gym that were there for an outlet for aggression, or problems at home, wanting to be around other people. But the gym only focused on people who wanted to box and to compete.
Mr Burton didn't think this was right, so he started to train the younger boxers.
All of a sudden he had a following.
Mr Burton moved into the backyard of his house for three years, then into what is now the Hit Factory.
He still keeps up with all the teenagers he's trained. All have done really well, whether in trade, study or a profession.
Mr Burton plans to keep training teenagers at the gym for as long as he can. Then he hopes one of the fighters can take it on, and continue the good work.
"The parents always come back and say, 'Your boxing gym gave them that foundation'," Mr Burton said.
"They learnt that skill: what you put in is what you get out. If you work hard, you'll achieve stuff."
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