Australia’s greatest ever boxer Jeff Fenech owes his career in large part to a former policeman who took him off the streets and gave him direction – and now he’s repaying the favour.
Brock Jarvis, whose uncle is former rugby league star Pat, is widely regarded as Australia’s most promising young boxer – and has the backing of Fenech to be the country’s next world champion.
Fenech’s lifelong association with the Jarvis family has seen the world class trainer, who coached twice coached former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, take on a role surpassing that with his 23-year-old protege.
Following the wedding of Fenech’s son, Brock and his daughter Kayla, 25, revealed their relationship to the fighting legend.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia from Vibe fitness, an old-school weight training gym in Sydney’s south west, the two discussed the budding romance and their bond.
‘I respect the kid, he’s from an amazing family, I’m blessed to have this guy with my daughter,’ Fenech told Daily Mail Australia
‘The climax would be the world title, but maybe a few years down the track he might be married to my daughter.’
Scroll down for video
Brock Jarvis (pictured left) is tipped by his legendary trainer Jeff Fenech to be Australia’s next world champion – and is even dating his daughter Kayla (pictured right)
Pictured: Rising star Brock Jarvis (left) with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (center) and their legendary trainer Jeff Fenech (right)
Brock only started boxing aged 15 after being convinced to try boxing while playing high level junior rugby league in The Shire – and one year later was already a champion
Fenech, an Australian Hall of Famee who won world titles across three different weight classes, was a promising young rugby league player who kept finding himself in trouble with the law.
Pat Jarvis, a fellow rugby league player and policeman in Fenech’s local area of Petersham, encouraged the talented athlete to come to the Newtown Police Boys Club, where he met legendary trainer Johnny Lewis.
‘I was in trouble and we forged a friendship,’ Fenech says of Jeff, Brocks’ uncle.
‘He was my inspiration. Through the relationship with his uncle I met his father, then he asked me to take his soon and see what I thought.
‘He was as hungry as I was, he wanted to work as hard.’
Brock only started boxing aged 15 after being convinced to try boxing while playing high level junior rugby league in The Shire – and one year later was already a champion.
He describes himself as ‘pretty boring’, but Fenech says his work ethic has him primed to become one of Australia’s finest ever boxers.
‘I’ve trained lots of boys, world champions, but this kid stands out,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I look at the ease in which he handles world-rated fighters – in the next 12 months we’ll be world champion.’
Brock began dating Fenech’s daughter five years ago, announcing their relationship to Fenech following the wedding of his son
‘I’ve trained lots of boys, world champions, but this kid stands out,’ Jeff Fenech told Daily Mail Australia
Brock began dating Fenech’s daugther Kayla five years ago. She has amassed nearly 230,000 Instagram followers and is an aspiring singer
Brock began dating Fenech’s daugther Kayla five years ago. She has amassed nearly 230,000 Instagram followers and is an aspiring singer.
She originally refused to date Brock because he was two years her junior, but following her brother Beau’s wedding they revealed their relationship to her father.
‘Jeff was alright (about Brock dating his daughter), we’re good friends, it wasn’t very awkward,’ the 23-year-old fighter chuckled.
Fenech said the relationship he has with Brock’s family and that the young star could ‘soon be a part of his family’ means he has to take a role beyond just his trainer.
‘I’m here as his mentor, it’s not just fighting. It’s his whole life I’m trying to manage,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I don’t think of him as a fighter, I’m trying to make sure it’s not just boxing but his life after boxing
‘I think Brock appreciates that more than anyone I’ve been associated with.’
Fenech also weighed in on the current state of Australian boxing, declaring Tim Tszyu a definite future world champion but called the spate of ex-footy stars attempting to join the sport ‘a joke’.
‘That last big fight night all those footy players did, it was a joke for me,’ the former world champion said.
‘This is an art that takes more than three or four months to say you can fight.
‘Take your hat off to Paul Gallen, he’s taken all these challenges. Sonny Bill Williams too. Amazing athlete. They’re making lots of money.
Brock Jarvis will fight New Zealand’s Nort Beauchamp on April 23 at Exhibition Park in Canberra
If he wins he will be in line for a shot at the featherweight world championship.