To thunderous applause from hundreds of students’ professional boxer and Olympian Danny Green was welcomed at the Serpentine Jarrahdale Recreation Centre.
Organised by the SJ YMCA YTime, Mr Green spoke to students from West Byford, Marri Grove Primary, SJ Grammar, Byford Primary and Lynwood Senior High on June 19.
He spoke to them about a number of topics including his Coward’s Punch campaign, which promotes anti-violence and supports victims of violence.
Mr Green told the students a tragic story involving two teenage boys.
He said one of the boys punched the other boy for a remark he had made against his girlfriend.
The boy who had been punched had died on the spot and the other one was in jail.
“Fighting proves nothing unless you are defending yourself,” he said.
“If you want to fight do it properly, in a ring with rules and learn about fighting and being a boxer.”
Mr Green also told the students to never give up on their dreams.
He told them to work hard and never let anyone tell them they cannot do something.
Mr Green said he had always wanted to be a professional fighter.
“I worked and I trained hard and ate the right food,” he said.
“I also got a trade as a carpenter just in case it didn’t work out as a boxer.
“You should have a back up and if you don’t want to get into uni, that’s fine as there are so many options available now with trades and apprenticeships.”
Mr Green also told the students about the time he met legendary boxer Muhammad Ali at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
“I was so nervous and I just wanted to impress him,” he said.
“So I ended up slapping him on the back and said you’re the greatest.
“He took his sunnies off and when we made eye contact his eyes were saying to me it’s okay son I know you embarrassed yourself and yes I am the greatest.”
SJ YMCA youth engagement manager Sinead Gilligan said the YMCA wanted young people to hear from someone who was a motivational speaker and someone who have overcome their challenges and could be an inspiration to the youth.
“The main thing we wanted the young people to take away from Danny is how admirable it is that he is not afraid to speak out,” she said.
“We really want to encourage them to have a voice.”
Shire president John Erren also spoke at the event.
He praised 18-year-old Tobias Muh, who is an internationally recognised performer and entertained the students with a mix of original and cover songs. Mr Erren said Tobias was a role model for all young people.
Mr Erren said the shire was delighted to join the YMCA and to provide the students with an opportunity to hear from Mr Green.