One fight at a time
By STEVE ARCHBOLD
THE disappointments of the past have taught boxer Daniel Baff not to set his sights too high.
Daniel arrived back in Coffs Harbour on Wednesday after his initial stint at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra with national coach Bobo Andreas.
He has been doing two sessions of two hours each day working mainly on strength and fitness with plenty of weight training.
"We have been doing a little bit of sparring but most of the time has been concentrated on our fitness," Daniel said.
"I am looking at this AIS scholarship as my big break to revive my career, now it is up to me to train as hard as I can and get the best results."
Philosophical about what lies ahead, Daniel isn't thinking any further forward than the national championships in March.
"Hopefully I can get a match-up at the State titles first but we aren't assured of finding an opponent," Daniel said.
His dreams of representing his country in the world championships next year and the Commonwealth Games in 2006 must wait on the backburner until he makes sure he gets everything else right first.
"The first step is to do well at the nationals and then I can go to Europe for a three-month training camp ready to look at whatever comes up after that," Daniel said.
If circumstances had been different, Daniel may already have a Commonwealth Games gold medal and a trip to the Athens Olympic Games under his belt.
Many other boxers would have thrown in the towel, but Daniel is still driven by the fact his full potential in the ring still hasn't been realised.
At 84kg, Daniel said he isn't far off his optimum light-heavyweight division weight of 81kg and he looks fighting fit.
While still a little numb, his right thumb, which he injured in October, 2003, is feeling much better after a successful operation and he is attacking his training program with plenty of gusto.
A tougher training regime, access to the best the AIS has to offer, and time with four other top-ranked Australian boxers have given the youngster a new lease of life and has Daniel excited by the prospect of what lies ahead.
Daniel has only experienced one minor problem in his short time away from home.
"I am not used to ironing my own clothes and having to make my own bed," Daniel said.
He will spend Christmas at home with his family before it is back to the grindstone at the AIS on January 2.
"I will have a bit of time to relax before getting right back into my training," he said.
"It's going to be tough but it is up to me to get in there and give it everything I can."