CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
There was a ceremonial passing off the torch at one of Betoota’s most famous health and fitness institutions this morning, as the owner and founder of Betoota Boxing officially handed the gym over to his 36-year-old son.
Alfie Amato (64) has been a mainstay of combat sports in the Diamantina Shire since the mid-1980s, but with a brand new caravan in the driveway and a wife who wants to visit the Great Barrier Reef, he’s decided it’s time to pass over the reins to the heir-apparent, his oldest boy Leo.
After a lengthy career spent inheriting all of the town’s at-risk young men, and teaching them a little about the world through the art of war, Alfie (53-38-9) says he believes Leo (22-8-1) is ready to take over.
With a stable of 23 professional fighters, 45 amateurs, and 95 corporate women packing out 31 different boxercise classes 7 days a week – Leo knows this isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
“I’ve been waiting for my shot.” says Leo, who has spent the last 20 years working as a roofer, tiler and fight coach in between in his own bouts.
“But the old man is starting to stir. The wide open road is calling him”
When asked if he has any changes to implement around the joint, Leo says if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.
Although he can think of a few new ways to innovate.
“Dad was always opposed to hand sanitiser. He reckons it makes the gloves smell like vodka. But I don’t have a problem with it”
“Also, I don’t reckon an eft-pos machine would hurt the business”
However, there is one stark difference that is already visible, just hours after the next generation took over.
Namely, the fact that the playlist that blares inside the gym has changed from the likes of Dire Straits and ACDC, to a more modern soundtrack of The Hilltop Hoods and DMX.
“The old boy doesn’t realise that 1980s rock music doesn’t exactly hype anyone up.”
“I’m not trying to be a revolutionary, but I reckon a bit of Nosebleed Section really lifts the energy around here”
Alfie says that while he looks forward to spending his twighlight years stealing toilet paper from remote public toilets and eating cup-a-soups on the roadside, the clients at Betoota Boxing can expect him to make cameo appearances in between his long-haul road trips.
However, this is a claim that has been refuted by his wife, who is demanding Alfie hangs up the gloves now while the gym is stacked with mediocre talent – before some juvenile delinquent wanders in one day and catches his eye.
“The missus is trying to get me out of here before I get sucked into cornering for the next heavyweight champion of the world.” says Alf.
“I know he’s out there”