Jacob Cassar is a boxing devotee

Jacob Cassar (Archivist Media)

Peter Howe

Jacob Cassar is a boxing devotee.

The sixteen-year-old son is the Victorian captain and part of a 36-member team about to head to South Australia for the National Boxing Championships in Adelaide.

“I spend three to four hours a week watching boxers from around the world box with my coach,” he said.

“I took up boxing after being bullied at school. I am passionate about anti bullying and helping young people to gain confidence through boxing the same way I have.

“I take different things from many boxers to improve my craft.”

Cassar has had 22 fights with a 22-0 record. He said his strength is in my ability to change my tactics mid fight.

“I can fight with a normal stance or quickly change to southpaw if my coach thinks that will give me an advantage,” he said.

“My coach, Igor Pocev is like a second father to me, we spend many many hours together and I am very grateful to him.”

Cassar played football as a junior with the Hillside but fell in love with boxing when one of his footy coaches got the players to put the pads on to improve their fitness

“What I love about boxing is the dedication it demands of you if you are going to succeed. It’s not easy to get up every day and train three times.”

“My role as Victorian captain is to get around all my team to ensure they are ready to train.”

The team ranges in age from twelve to eighteen and they train for two hours at a time.

It’s a skill-based session where all of us are matched in ability and weight.

“We spar for three to six minutes and change opponents,” he said. “It’s a tough two-hour session.

“I train three times a day, six days a week. A morning 90-minute walk with my dog starts my day, I then switch between swimming, pilates which is a strength and conditioning circuit and running around mid-day and then it’s off to Lionsden Boxing Academy every night for boxing.

“I am currently 60kgs and fight in the lightweight division. At 180cm tall I have a height advantage now, I can see myself getting to 67kgs as I get into my adult years.”

Cassar has won two Australian titles.

The first as a twelve-year-old and the second at 15, in 2022. As a featherweight he is ranked number one in Australia and the Commonwealth in his age group and 16th in the world.

In 2022 Cassar was selected as the best male boxer of the tournament in the under-19 Australian Championships.

Cassar was selected in the 2019-2023 Victorian Futures team by state coach Marcos

Amado and was subsequently selected into the AIS under-19s and emerging squad by the current Australian coach, Jamie Pittman.

Cassar has attended camps in Canberra at the AIS, which he is extremely grateful for the opportunity. There are only 12 boxers in that squad.

Cassar’s first overseas opportunity was with an AIS team that went to Thailand.

“It was an amazing experience; I have never had to cope with the heat and humidity that we had to box in,” he said.

“Thailand’s boxers are trained so differently to us in Australia. They also box so differently. It was an eye opener, that’s for sure.”

So, what does the future hold? With his parent’s support Cassar has left school to focus on his sport.

“My aim is to represent Australia this year in Germany and at the Youth World Championships in Croatia in 2024.

“Longer term is to medal for Australia at the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in Melbourne and the 2028 Las Angeles Olympics.”.

“I took up boxing after being bullied at school. I am passionate about anti bullying and helping young people to gain confidence through boxing

the same way I have.”

The Don Deeble Sports Star Award is sponsored by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, Strathmore Community Bank, the Deer Park Club, Ascot Vale Sports and Trophies and the Star Weekly Newspapers.