During the past year, John Hill has cemented his status as one of the most exciting young boxers in the country.
That alone is justification for the Sportsperson of the Year award he was given at the recent Dubbo NAIDOC Ball presentation.
But there’s much more the Dubbo teenager’s story.
As well as being a standout fighter at the Pound For Pound gym, Hill is taking on more and more of a leadership role at the centre.
He’s been working under the gym’s owner and former national boxing champion, Robert ‘Gummy’ Toomey, and the Dubbo College student is being groomed to take on an even bigger role once he finishes his school studies.
It keeps you training and gives you the motivation to keep going.John Hill on his NAIDOC award
As well as that, Hill has developed into an accomplished long distance runner and this year has become part of the highly-regarded Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).
He will head to Sydney this weekend for the City to Surf while later in the year he will join the IMP team competing at the famed New York Marathon.
All that kind of work, in competition and away from it, was why Toomey and his wife Kara nominated the youngster for the award and it was the same reason why he was such a worthy winner.
“They’re all really encouraging and now they’re all really proud. They’ve supported me,” Hill said of those who nominated him.
“I’d be no chance (of all the success) without ‘Gummy’ and Kara. They’re the main two and then there’s (trainer) Graham Wallace too, I’m training here every day.
“This (award) tops it all off after all the hard work you put in.”
The NAIDOC Ball was a gala event at the Dubbo Regional Theatre last month, and there were a huge number of nominees, businesses and officials in attendance.
“There was a lot of Aboriginal organisations from around town and everyone knows me through sport and when I got the award everyone was excited,” Hill said, before stating how appreciative he was of the support.
“It keeps you training and gives you the motivation to keep going.”
While there has always been plenty of support for the work Hill does in the boxing ring, there is now plenty of excitement around the progress he is making on the marathon scene.
The Indigenous Marathon Project has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has a focus on leadership and community involvement, as well as developing elite athletes.
Hundreds of people trialled to be part of the program but just 12 were chosen to be part of the team for New York, Hill being one of the lucky ones.
And while running a marathon seems vastly different to stepping into the boxing ring, the two have worked well together for Hill.
“They work heaps good together,” he said.
“The marathon running helps my boxing and helps get the kilometres in my legs and the boxing helps, it helps discipline and that stuff you need for running.”
Following this weekend’s City To Surf, Hill is expected to be one of the boxers in action at a Pound for Pound fight night in September, before focus turns to the New York Marathon on November 4.