Duke McKenzie: “The best reward you can provide anyone is your time”

Duke McKenzie was final week honoured with a plaque outdoors the home during which he grew up, courtesy of Ringside Charitable Belief and the British Boxing Corridor of Fame

IT was a couple of week in the past I discovered that I used to be being honoured with a plaque outdoors the home I grew up in at 103 Birchanger Street in South London. It was in recognition of my work with the Ringside Charitable Belief, the British Ex-Boxer’s affiliation and the Croydon Ex-Boxer’s affiliation, and the honour left me speechless.

When Dave Harris of Ringside Charitable Belief mentioned they had been going to do it, I couldn’t consider it. I can’t even put it into phrases what it meant to me.

Folks speak about legacy and one factor or one other, however that home might be there for the subsequent hundred years. I’ve bought children and I’m a grandad now – and I’m certain I’ve bought extra grandchildren to return. I went to highschool actually 100 yards up the highway and South Norwood is the place I used to be born.

In and across the Croydon space we had been fairly well-known, the McKenzie household – for being boxers, that’s, not gangsters or something like that. My older brother was like “Del Boy”, truthfully. All people knew the McKenzies in and round that space, so it’s a privilege and honour for this plaque to now be outdoors the home.

As for legacy, I’ve at all times regarded for various methods to be concerned in boxing since I retired. I’ve achieved commentary and I’ve educated one or two fighters, not formally however on the gymnasium. I’ve at all times achieved one thing the place boxing is worried. I’ve by no means seen myself as a promoter or a supervisor or perhaps a coach. However, for no matter motive, individuals like speaking to me. The most effective issues my brother, Dudley, mentioned to me was this: “The best reward you can provide anyone is your time. It’s not your automobile keys, your home keys, or your cash. It’s your time.”

I’ve by no means forgotten that. He advised me that once I was about six years outdated. Since then, I’ve at all times tried giving individuals my time and I believe that’s why individuals like speaking to me. I’m fairly an approachable individual, I’d prefer to suppose, and I like to speak to individuals. I don’t pry into individuals’s lives however individuals like speaking to me. I’m like a hairdresser.

What the Ringside Charitable Belief are about is only one factor and that’s giving again. They’re not about taking from the game. They need their legacy to be that they had been males who gave again to their sport. After they’re gone, or not in a position to run this organisation anymore, their legacy might be secured. They are going to have made a distinction within the sport of boxing. That’s what they’re making an attempt to do.

I’ve recognized Dave Harris since I used to be a child. I boxed a few boys from his gymnasium as a toddler. However over time, though I wouldn’t say we stored in contact, I’ve been in a position to see precisely what he represents. He’s one of many good guys within the sport. He’s one of many sincere guys within the sport. He doesn’t need something from the game. He simply desires to provide guys a combating probability.

There are many boxers who’re destitute or broke or have drink or drug issues and they’re in want of assist. Dave is making an attempt to supply that assist. He’s making an attempt to construct a state-of-the-art 30-bedroom care dwelling particularly for retired boxers to provide them the advantage of having a roof over their head. It’s magnificent, it truly is. I’m behind it wholeheartedly.

I discover that increasingly over time I’ve been doing plenty of mentoring to the youth in and round my gymnasium. You discover out they’ve bought this drawback happening, or that drawback happening, and also you attempt to assist them. I’ve at all times thought to myself, You understand what, I’d make a extremely good counsellor in the future.

To be a counsellor, you’ve bought to have large shoulders and massive ears and I’ve bought each of these issues. So, that’s the place I see my vocation now, being a counsellor. I don’t simply imply working with boxers, both. I imply working with anyone who wants assist.

For me to establish what’s going incorrect with boxers right this moment, each bodily and mentally, shouldn’t be troublesome. I’ve been on this sport for 40 years and have been privileged to have achieved greater than your common. I’ve had instances the place I’ve hit lows in my profession however I at all times had any person who was there to choose me up. I need to be that individual for another person now.


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