They’re a good mix according to these two New South Welshmen.
Above: Newcastle’s Rusta King, 16. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers/Newcastle Herald
The parallels between booging and boxing are there – the butterflies a fighter feels before stepping into the ring must surely be similar to that of paddling for a heaving, shallow reefbreak, no? There’s the dedication to the craft that’s required, early starts, brutal injuries… Regardless, 16-year-old Newy bodyboarder Rusta King – a former NSW state bodyboarding champ – has donned the gloves in recent times and earlier this month claimed the NSW open youth middleweight (75 kilogram) crown. The win earned him a spot in the state team and gives him a shot at his first national title on the Gold Coast in April. Read the Newcastle Herald’s story here.
Above: Rusta at home in Newy. Photo: Charlie Hardy Photography
Rusta’s tale is similar to that of Coffs Harbour bodyboarder-turned-boxer Ben “The Juicer” McCulloch, 32, who you can read about in Riptide’s latest issue. Ben grew up surfing all over the Mid North Coast of NSW before travelling the world for waves in his late teens. But the lure of boxing – which he got into after he realised his talent in muck-around Fight Club bouts with mates – was too strong. Ben has since gone on to take out the Pan Asian Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation titles, spar and train with contemporaries Anthony Mundine and Danny Green and, more recently, fight in Russia for the vacant WBA interim super-middleweight belt. Read Ben’s full story by finding your nearest print copy of Riptide #202, or buying it directly online here.
Above: Ben “The Juicer” McCulloch. Photo: Guardian
If you’re thinking booging and boxing might be a good mix, we’ll leave you with some advice from Ben’s interview: “It’s great – especially as a bodyboarder – to learn how to fight because that’s what bodyboarders have always done. We’ve always been outcasts in the surfing community. Boxing gives you the confidence to stand up for yourself and that’s good. I’d encourage it [taking up boxing] for sure. You also gain a lot of independence and appreciation for hard work because there aren’t many things tougher than stepping into the ring – it’s the loneliest sport in the world. Go for it, grommies!”