PREPARING young people for competitive sport is always valuable.
But when coaches provide a supportive environment to make better kids in the community, that is even more important.
That's exactly what has happened at Ipswich's Corporate Box Gym this year.
Under the watchful eye of gym owner Kurtis Pegoraro and manager Dean Wood, a group of young fighters have excelled inside and outside the ring.
Mainly being taught Muay Thai skills, Ipswich kids aged 5-13 have won a series of titles and improved other aspects of their life like schooling.
"It's amazing,'' Wood said of the progress he's witnessed over the past 12 months.
Among the big improvers has been Ipswich Aboriginal boy Tyrone Muller who is the current 28kg Siam International champion, 30kg Fighting for Autism Australian champion and 28kg Golden Gloves Australian champion.
Tyrone, 10, is recovering from a broken arm due to a trampolining accident.
However, Wood praised the youngster's commitment to training, competition and school.
"He's a special little kid,'' the proud gym manager said.
"Tyrone has been training one year and has risen to the top of the world in his division boxing and Muay Thai.''
Tyrone started Muay Thai to help him overcome a series of personal issues including problems at school. "He's gone through a lot,'' Wood said.
"In one year with us, he is back at school excelling and winning 14 of 15 fights this year. It's a huge improvement.''
Wood said the Corporate Box Ipswich kids fight team had also climbed to the top of the Australian rankings.
Other Ipswich Corporate Box junior achievers have included:
Lync McNamara, aged 10: four fights, three wins; 40kg Fighting For Autism Australian champion.
Kiana Taingahue, 9: four fights, three wins.
Tiresa Elika, 10, four fights, three wins.
Keegan Barnes, 5: two fights, one win.
Kayne Smith, 9: 10 fights, seven wins.
Axel McNamara: 11: two fights, two wins.
Sam Sandaver, 7: three fights, two wins.
Isaac Sandaver, 9: two fights, one win.
Maverick Single, 12: two fights, one win.
Michael Renfree, 7: three fights, three wins.
Charlie Chambers, 7: two fights, two wins.
Caden Warnock, 7: one fight, one win.
As Wood proudly declared, that's 42 wins from 53 fights.
"It's incredible what they have done across Australia considering all the kids are new to the sport,'' Wood said.
"Quite a few of these kids have terrible stories of bullying and are overcoming it through training.
"Now their confidence has gone through the roof.
"It's really good to see.''
'Amazing Ipswich youngsters just need guidance'
YOUTH-minded Dean Wood knows how important it is to take an interest in young people's lives.
"It's just the Ipswich kids, the Aboriginals, the Samoans,'' he said. "They are amazingly talented kids, they really are. It's just that guidance they need to shine.
"The Muay Thai has a respect element to it that really helps the kids.''
As a youth coach for the Australian Muay Thai team, Wood is also keen to promote junior development at all levels.
"It's an Olympic sport now so we're building the amateur division,'' he said.
The Australian team is heading to Thailand early next month for training before returning for the national titles on January 18.