'He's progressing so much': N.S. man with Down syndrome trains, plans fight with professional boxer
HALIFAX -- A 20-year-old Nova Scotian man living with Down syndrome is punching his way to perfection in Lower Sackville, N.S.
Mikey Hanlon always had a love for the sport of boxing. After attending a match in Halifax just over a year ago, it wasn't long before Mikey hit the gym to start his own training.
"Probably about 14 months ago, I was having my WBC World Title fight in the casino, Halifax Casino, and I guess Mikey was just always going on about boxing, how he wanted to get into boxing," said Tyson Cave, a professional boxer from Halifax.
"I gave him some tickets and I let Mikey spend the day with me, and he walked to the ring with me and it just went from there. And then his dad said, 'Well what about him training?'"
That's how Mikey became one of the hardest training clients at Citadel Boxing, a boxing training gym in Lower Sackville.
"I'll train with him. Doing the combinations, punching the bags and pads, push-ups, sit-ups, burpees" said Mikey.
Tyson and others at the gym say it wasn't hard to tell that Mikey strongly believes in the saying, 'practice makes perfect'.
"He's progressing so much. I think he's down about 45 to 50 lbs. People aren't recognizing him. He's throwing the right punches, the right combinations," said Tyson.
"Well, our gym’s always active with lots of kids and everybody has different goals that they want to achieve," adds Wayne Gordon, the main coach at Citadel Boxing.
"Mikey's no different. He comes in the gym. He has goals of getting into shape, being active and he's one of the hardest training kids we have in the gym. He's an inspiration for a lot of the kids to be here in the gym."
And although Mikey's coaches are doing their best to keep him in check and grow his skills, Mikey makes sure to keep them on track too.
"He hounds me, you know. He gets really mad at me if I don't train and, you know, he always says, 'What are you eating', you know. He's my brother, you know. We call each other brother," said Tyson.
"Tyson is a brother to me. I love him," said Mikey.
"You know, he's not sitting at home playing video games and pigging out. He's actually coming to the gym every day, he's very disciplined," said Mikey's dad, Charles Hanlon. "And I think he helps Tyson as much as Tyson is helping him."
"At the end of the day, Mikey helps me. He makes me want to be a better person. He makes me realize that there really is no excuse, and he makes me train harder," said Tyson. "So, at the end of the day, Mikey's helping me, I'm not helping Mikey."
Now that Mikey's been trained by the best, he plans to fight the best this summer too.
"I'm fighting Mikey, hopefully this summer. I'm fighting Mikey for one of my titles, so let's see if Mikey can beat me or not," said Tyson.
"Tyson, you're going to sleep," says Mikey.
An unexpected brotherhood that packs a punch, both inside, and outside of the ring.