Get ‘grubs’ in the gym, says trainer Joe Hilton
WARANA Muay Thai trainer Joe Hilton has mentored some of the toughest fighters to come out of the Sunshine Coast since 1994.
He is currently schooling a number of talented athletes as they prepare to take on the world titles in Sweden. But Hilton said it takes more than violence to succeed in the sport he's most passionate about.
The alleged one-punch death of Sunshine Coast teenager Cole Miller sent shock waves across the entire sporting community and moved Hilton to denounce violence in the streets.
"All these big heroes should try and get in the ring," he said.
"When we started Muay Thai in Australia, a lot of the fighters were street fighters.
"Now they are athletes and compete because it's sport. They can control themselves mentally."
Hilton enforces a strict no-nonsense policy with his fighters, and isn't afraid to show them the door if they play up outside of the gym.
"These people who king-hit people aren't athletes, they're not heroes, they're just grubs," he said.
"Maybe they should get into our gym for a few months.
"We work on a strick policy...but I've only ever had to walk two people out the front door.
"This gym is not a stop and look in the mirror gym - it's a hard work gym."
Hilton is busy training his son Matt, 27, and junior star Jade Waipira, 15, ahead of the World Championships in May.
WAIPIRA booked his place at the Worlds with a National Title win in 2015.
Hilton Jr would've secured a start by winning, but took silver in a closely fought final with Sydney's Linden Wotton.
It has been speculated that Wotton won't take his place in Sweden, with Hilton Jr next in line to step into the ring.
"Matt should know within a week if he's going," Hilton Snr said.
On the other hand, Waipira is primed and ready to take on the rest of the world, and his coach rates him a big chance of bringing home a medal.
"Jade is a very talented boy...he's quiet but he's a very special talent," Hilton Snr said.
"I'd like him to have another two fights before May.
"If all goes well, he could have three or four fights over there."
Hilton said the gym would fundraise to help send Jade to Sweden.