Regarn Simbwa has a mantra: 'What else can I do but chase the dream?'
After a stop-start few years, the 24-year-old can feel momentum building again in his boxing career.
In August, he'll head to the Australian Golden Gloves tournament in Queensland, which feels like unfinished business for the Wagga heavyweight.
In 2019, Simbwa went north with high hopes after winning the Boxing NSW King of the Ring tournament. He finished with a silver medal at an event that attracted international contenders.
There was a points victory over a Kiwi, and a third round knockout of a German opponent.
"Then I lost my final. I couldn't go further. I had a splinter in my hand and it was infected," Simbwa recalls.
That was then. Now? Well, after 2020 was a write-off, Simbwa has had two fights on the comeback trail, for two wins.
Admitting there was some 'rust' in his winning return in Canberra, Simbwa made a big impact at Windsor last month in a fight against former NSW champion Blade Baird.
"I stopped him in the first round. I hit him in the stomach... the moment the referee said 'box again' I went straight for him and a lot of punches were hitting him," Simbwa says.
Two weeks ago the former Uganda boxer (who fled the team - and ultimately his country - after the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane) was invited to the Australian Institute of Sport.
"They called me up to do some sparring with the boys," Simbwa said.
"It was good. Good experience and good exposure to good coaches because they're the AIS coaches for the Australian team.
"They told me I did well. They liked me and they might call me for more sparring. You never know, maybe something will happen.
"I'm feeling I'm coming back into the system. And I feel good to be back. When I compete - (comparing) the fights I had before, and these ones - there's a lot of improvement in my boxing currently."
Simbwa is also awaiting progress on his visa application, as he would love to become an Australian resident.
In the meantime, there's a dedication to improving his craft.
Working long days at Byrne Trailers., he then heads straight to the Barefoot Boxing gym four nights a week and with trainer Tony Abbott they work on technique, power and ring management.
The Canberra visit helped focus his mind on specific improvement.
"There is something I saw when I was in Canberra, about my speed," he says.
"I have to add on more speed. As in, my punch is a punch, but I have to put on more speed. And more endurance for more scores."
Simbwa says he would love to find a willing sponsor to help out with the costs of travelling to tournaments, particularly the Golden Gloves in Queensland.
It can be an expensive exercise but as he puts it: "I have no choice, I have to chase the dream."
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