WHEN Dion Billett herniated three discs in his spine which required multiple spinal operations, he questioned what his next steps would be.
He was working fly-in, fly-out as a rescue paramedic but had been an avid boxer in Karratha since he was 13 years old.
Boxing, which Billett used for his own rehabilitation post surgery, turned out to be the answer.
"I've continued boxing my whole life in one way or another," Billett said.
"I did my first fight when I was 16 and I remember I said to my dad that one day I would have my own boxing gym with my own fighters.
"And that's what I did."
After receiving a coaching accreditation from Boxing Australia, Billett started his own club run out of his own shed in 2019.
We focus a lot more on helping our members be trim and tone, not bulk and big, because as the saying goes, curls get the girls, but in boxing, they get you knocked out."Eaton Boxing Club owner Dion Billett
Thanks to word-of-mouth, he started offering classes to players of all ages from Eaton Junior Football Club and boxfit to women, which was where he met his current trainers, Bec Mepham and Michelle Johnson.
Born and raised in Eaton, Billett bought an old hairdressing and beautician salon on Albatross Crescent adjacent from Eaton Fair Shopping Centre in early 2020.
As impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were just starting to be felt, the opening was a risky move, but Billett said he was keen to "give it a crack".
"Everyone said 'you're mad, there's no money in boxing'.
"But I wanted to do it, despite only being open for four months before going into lockdown in March."
To stay afloat financially, the club quickly began offering zoom classes.
One year later, Eaton Boxing Club has just celebrated its anniversary milestone.
Today, the club offers multiple classes for men, women and children aged five and up, offering beginners boxing, box fit, strength and conditioning classes, boxing and sparring, kids boxing and more.
Following the four core values of respect, discipline, commitment and accountability, Billett, who teaches the younger boxers including his twin sons Nate and Seth, said the classes were all about instilling "old school values" into younger competitors.
"I run very strongly on these values and kids know that what is learnt in the gym, stays in the gym," Billet said.
"Kids face consequences here if they do the wrong thing at school or at home.
"Here we teach self defense, confidence, mental wellbeing, strength and mobility as well as help people reach their general fitness goals."
Billett also expressed a desire to re-shape the incorrect stereotype of boxing being a chance to just "jump in the ring and belt the living crap out of each other".
He said in recent years, Boxing Australia had really "tidied up" what rules and regulations were in place to stop boxers from getting seriously injured.
"In the old days anyone could enter anyone to fight, but now everyone has to be registered.
"All the gloves are supplied and not even red mouth guards are allowed because the referees can't properly see if the boxer has blood in their mouth or not.
"Now it's a really safe sport, you can put your kid into spar and they'll be safe with all the correct heard gear, gloves, mouth guards and tight referees.
"We also focus a lot more on helping our members be trim and toned, not bulk and big, because as the saying goes, curls get the girls, but in boxing, they get you knocked out."
Eaton Boxing Club continues to welcome new members, especially women and children, who can enjoy "different workouts, every time".
Making it through COVID-19 related lockdowns and preparing for pending easing of borders in 2022, Billett said the club continued to do well.
"We're breaking even, so we definitely can't complain," he said.
"Slowly but surely, we're continuing to grow.
"Boxing has to be the best sport in the world."
For more information and to join, visit Eaton Boxing Club on Facebook via www.facebook.com/TwelveRoundsEatonWA.