Champ’s feats not forgotten Safe harbour gets CHAMPION boxer Johnny Famechon is finding a newfound appreciation of his sporting achievements among younger generations in the wake of the unveiling of a sculpture in his likeness and honour at Frankston’s Ballam Park. The 72-year-old former boxer visited the Mt Eliza Boxing Centre late last month after the statue’s official unveiling and was greeted with lots of questions from children about his boxing heyday in the late 1960s when Famechon was a champion of the world. The longtime Frankston resident has inspired and mentored young people since retiring from boxing in 1970, the year after taking out the World Featherweight Championship against Cuban Jose Legra and the year he defended the title twice in bouts against Japan’s Fighting Harada. Mt Eliza Boxing Centre owner Ron Smith said he and wife Sharyn who co-manages the gym were happy to see the children know about Famechon’s boxing prowess. “He visited during a school holiday program to teach kids about boxing so John was quite enthused about coming along to have some input,” Smith said. “When people ask him serious questions about boxing training and health he is very on the ball. “He was very impressed by the level of some of the kids there.” Famechon’s wife, Glenys, said Smith visits Famechon at home once a week to work of physio and boxing training to keep the champ
the green light Neil Walker email@example.com
Boxing on: Johnny Famechon, centre, was on hand to give advice to the next generation of champions at Mt Eliza Boxing Centre. Picture: Gary Sissons
on his feet. Famechon suffered brain injuries after being hit by a car while jogging in Sydney 25 years ago. Wife Glenys said Smith does “wonderful work” keeping children who visit the Mt Eliza gym fit and health. “Ron also visits John at home and puts him through his paces out of the goodness of his heart including legwork to keep John’s fitness up,” she said. “He’s done that for about seven years and he and his wife are a great help to John.” The Ballam Park 2.5-high bronze sculpture of the boxing champ in his youthful pomp, installed after an im-
pressive $180,000 fundraising effort over several years by boxing fans, now stands as a fitting testament to Famechon’s feats. Famechon was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003 and was elevated to Legend status in 2012. Smith says the boxing fitness training is not just for children who want to step into the ring. “I try mainly to teach them about self-respect and not getting into fights. I’ve found over the years that once they have learned boxing or martial arts they can walk away from idiots at parties and all that.” Neil Walker
ENVIRONMENTAL investigations will begin with a view to building a safe boat harbour for vessels during heavy weather at Olivers Hill. Federal Dunkley Liberal MP Chris Crewther announced this month that stage one of a project to build a safe boat refuge will involve “hydrological, planning and other environmental studies. The studies will determine the further detail for stage two of the project, being the construction of the project”. A federal grant of $500,000 will go towards the studies and part of the construction of the harbour at Olivers Hill. Mr Crewther said The Safe Boat Refuge will include safety for small recreation craft and police boats in heavy weather, and a secure permanent mooring in 2-3 metres depth for the Frankston Volunteer Coast Guard rescue vessel, and potentially police boats. Mr Crewther told The Times that council will take the lead on the project and asked for the $500,000 before the 2016 federal election to start the project. He said KBR Commercial will design a concept plan by July at the latest and the council construction tender will then go out to market.
Construction is planned to begin by May 2019. The safe boat harbour will include a breakwater with access for emergency vehicles, plus lighting and CCTV. Stage one including hydrological studies and the concept plan will cost $253,000 and the remainder of the $500,000 will go towards construction when the scope of the project is known. The safe boat refuge will be used by the Frankston Coast Guard, Water Police, That’s The Thing About Fishing volunteers, Frankston Surf Life Saving Club members and recreational boaters. “Council will co-contribute to the project as required depending on the length of the breakwater,” Mr Crewther said. “It really depends what is needed to protect the boat ramp there and to provide a permanent mooring opportunity for the Coast Guard and Water Police.” Environmental studies will also be a factor in the scope of the safe harbour, Mr Crewther said. The safe boat refuge is separate from a long-floated idea to build a $38-$80 million marina to be “a regional boating hub”. The marina project is not listed as a strategic priority in council’s 20172021 plan.
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Frankston Times 19 February 2018
Published on Feb 18, 2018