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Tomlinson pulls no punches for charity fight

Race-8-Mishani-Miss-062A2198-JPG-1.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

Apprentice hoop Sheriden Tomlinson steps into the boxing ring this Saturday night with two desires.

Firstly, he wants to put on a show – a scrap as he says with a fellow rider – and claim the much needed bragging rights for whenever he is at the races or at track work in the morning.

And, secondly, with a few mates who have sadly passed from suicide in recent years, Tomlinson is intent on doing their families proud, raising awareness and funds for mental health causes.

The three-kilo claimer in town will step into the ring as part of the “Fight For a Cause” concept, which pits jockeys against each other, raising much needed funds for charity, while providing everyday people the experience of stepping into a boxing ring in front of a packed arena.

The UK-born Tomlinson lost two mates to suicide earlier in his life, which pushed him to get involved in the concept.

One of the people who committed suicide was a close friend of Tomlinson’s younger sister.

“It impacted not only his family and my sister, she was pretty upset, everyone was upset but it brought us all together, the entire school,” Tomlinson said.

“It is never weak to speak, hopefully people now can reach out to someone if they are having problems.

“I am open to talking to anyone if they feel like they are going through something.”

Fight For a Cause has partnered with the Mental Awareness Foundation, who support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness, while supporting the preservation of life.

Tomlinson has stayed in contact with the families of the mates he lost and hopes he can do them proud on Saturday.

“Mental health awareness, it means a bit to me because I have lost a few friends to suicide over the years,” Tomlinson said.

“Hopefully we can go out and do something for their families.

“I have had mothers of the people who committed suicide message me and say how much they appreciate what we are doing, they are coming to the fight too.

“Hopefully we can raise some money for them.”

Former Australian professional boxer Corey McConnell, who these days trains jockeys and other racing participants to keep their fitness up, has coached the jockeys in their boxing growth over the last 10 weeks.

The experienced McConnell has had the Queensland-based jockeys at Northside Boxing in Nundah once or twice a week over the last 10 weeks to get them fight night ready.

Adin Thompson, Madeleine Wishart, Ryan Maloney, and Zoe White, among others, are also apart of the program.

Sheriden Tomlinson Next Racing

Race-8-Mishani-Miss-062A2096-JPG.JPGMcConnell (pictured) thinks Tomlinson, who works for trainer Les Ross, has improved most of the jockey contingent over the 10 weeks.

“I was working with Sheriden a little bit before this program started and he was boxing really good,” McConnell said.

“Once the 10-week program started, a few of his sparring sessions were ordinary but since then probably out of everyone, he has developed the most.

“His sparring has come along; he is keeping his chin down and his movement is much better.

“He has picked his game up as much as anyone.”

While most of the jockeys will be stepping into the ring for the first time come Saturday, it will actually be Tomlinson’s second fight.

He had one bout in high school and in his own words “got towelled up.”

The 21-year-old says it has been great to train as a group with the jockeys, as their competitive instincts in their blood came out from day one.

“To be in the ring with another jockey, it will be about bragging rights when you are in there; say if I was against Adin, another apprentice,” he said.

“I am keen to get in there, have a scrap and see who comes out on top.

“Corey has lots of experience, we have come a long way in 10 weeks.”

Tomlinson rates leading hoop James Orman as the biggest improver over the 10-week period and says Jag Guthmann-Chester is the best of the lot.

On his riding, Tomlinson says he is a little quiet at the moment for opportunities as he goes searching for more winners.

He believes the extra boxing training has significantly helped his strength and fitness when it comes to his day-to-day duties as an apprentice rider.

“For fitness, I struggle a bit with my weight but if I am in the boxing training twice a week, it makes it much easier than sitting in a spa or a sauna,” he said.

IMG-5357.jpg“I enjoy this kind of training; you were doing something you enjoy, and you aren’t getting dark on it.

“I can feel myself getting stronger and better, not just me, everyone has improved.”

He booted home a Saturday metro winner last weekend, getting Dr Why Not up for Scott Morrisey - which was Tomlinson's first victory at Eagle Farm in that grade.

Fight For a Cause is a program is designed for people with little or no boxing experience and will include jockeys and regular everyday people.

The amateur fights will be held as a black tie dinner event hosted at the Royal International Convention Centre at RNA Showgrounds on Saturday April 24.