WHEN punches were thrown at him during a soccer match Damian McKay retaliated and in retaliating, fractured his hand.
"He was lying on the ground in pain," said his father Ian, who decided if his son risked getting into fights "you're going to learn to punch."
So Damian, now 21, and younger brother Josh, then 12, were later taken off to a Mt Druitt gym.
Damian didn't stick with it but Josh did.
Amateur champion Josh Krenshaw also trained at the gym and "would have a chat" with the young McKay sometimes.
The youngster was so impressed he wanted to dash off to the gym to train and see Krenshaw train.
He's come a long way since. The now 16-year-old McKay trains at the the Full Combat Gym at Seven Hills with Rodney Williams and is about to go even further.
McKay won the national amateur junior 60kg boxing title in Adelaide and is travelling from Doonside to The Ukraine next month for the world junior amateur titles.
Dad and mum Trish will be going with him.
"Robbed the bank," his father said of how they got the money to accompany their son.
Just a colloquial expression for the sacrifices and saving the dollars and cents.
The son had to earn his way too, raising $3500 from the sale of a tee-shirt.
His trainer Williams said of his charge's attributes: "He's very strong and very committed to the sport.
"He used to be just in and out but has learned angles and has improved a lot."
The Plumpton High School year 11 student had to make choice about what to commit to.
Lock forward McKay was Colyton/Mt Druitt's under-26 player of the year last season but dad said to him "You've got to focus on one or the other."
So McKay focuses on the sweet science five days a week after school, with dad as unpaid taxi driver, and instead of playing rugby league, referees it on weekends.
Beyond that the focus is straightforward: next month The Ukraine, beyond that the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.