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Boxing boss urges Queensland community to embrace 2023 Reconciliation Awards

Aaron Bloch -

The Boss Boxing director Sammy Leone has encouraged Queensland Indigenous communities to nominate local heroes for the 2023 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

The awards, which seek to recognise the work of businesses, community groups, educational institutions and partnerships which are making valued contributions towards reconciliation, have just opened nominations for 2023.

Across five categories, the awards celebrate initiatives that work in Business, the Community, Education, Health and Wellbeing, and Partnership.

The Boss Boxing is a volunteer-based initiative that seeks to improve the lives of its community through sport and won the 2022 Queensland Reconciliation Award for Health and Wellbeing.

Mr Leone, a Garawa and Butchulla man, said the award had helped raise the group's profile in the community.

"More and more people within the government sector and business sector are aware of us and that was an outcome of winning the award," he said.

Mr Leone encouraged other organisations to apply for the awards and spoke of the opportunity it provides to network and gives "you a sense of credibility".

"It can only be beneficial."

The Boss Boxing aims to help people "learn discipline, self-control, all the good things that come from the sport of boxing... dedication and persistence".

"We're empowering them to be new people in breaking free of different cycles, generational cycles," said Mr Leone.

"We're giving them the tools and the skills, and from there, we're equipping them for a future."

The Boss Boxing is a program of 'Pass on the Fire' Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Corporation.

They are hoping to move into a bigger gym and Mr Leone called for help from local businesses, partnerships and sponsors who would be able to help them cover their costs and help more of their community.

"We need them to walk alongside us so that we can further work in the reconciliation space and share our culture with everyone."

Mr Leone commented that recognising the reconciliation efforts of organisations such as The Boss Boxing shows that Australia wants to move forward "with First Nations people at the forefront".

"You can bring people in to celebrate and share and be a part of our culture," he said.

"What reconciliation does... it counteracts a lot of that stuff that was negative and coming together and getting people to celebrate, acknowledge, for First Nations people to take their place in the nation, I think that's a beautiful thing."

"It's a way that we can see meaningful and true actions to work towards that process of reconciling for the past."

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