The young Bowen boxing prodigy making an impact in the ring
STARTING from humble beginnings hasn't stopped a young Bowen boxing prodigy from finding success in the ring as he continues his rise in the sport.
From the moment Justin Meeks turned five, all he wanted to do was step foot in the ring and fight.
Unfortunately for him, athletes under the age of 10 are unable to competitively compete.
That never stopped the now eleven-year-old dedicated sportsman from spending the next five years training so he was prepared when he entered his first bout, said his mother, Shannon Connelley.
"The moment he decided that this was what he wanted, he started giving it everything he could," she said.
"Even though he couldn't fight yet, he was the most dedicated person you could imagine. He was up every day before us, doing his pushups, on the ropes and sparring."
Ms Connelley said he began with just a tied up mattress as a boxing bag until it was obvious that Justin was serious about his boxing, and invested in a punching bag.
She said his inspiration for the sport came from the knowledge he is a descendant of the legendary indigenous boxer, Jack Hassen, who won the Australian Lightweight Championship in 1949.
"These days he looks up to boxers like Tim Tszyu, but it was that knowledge where the passion really began," she said.
The young prodigy now has his sights set on entering the professional scene and has made the move to live with an Auntie in Ayr, closer to the Burdekin PCYC where he trains.
Since entering the ring for the first time on his tenth birthday he has secured an impressive score sheet of wins, with a record of 10-3.
He now trains seven days a week, four of those with his coach, Alex Lawson, at the Burdekin PCYC as he prepares for his next fight to take place in Cloncurry, the birthplace of Jack Hassen.
Ms Connelley said his motivation to 'do better' is what has helped him along his boxing journey.
"He'll film every fight he is in so that he can see where to do better next time," she said.
"He wants to do better every single time, and that's what sets him apart. He's always looking to improve."
Ms Connelley said that she was 'incredibly proud' of her son, especially his dedication.
"He really excels in everything he wants to do, you'll never meet someone with more dedication," she said.
"He's never let his passion for boxing get in the way of him doing well at school too.
"He's a young indigenous kid who is very proud of his culture, and he's out here showing that if you're dedicated you can excel in anything."