United with Hearts of Gold – Remembering Brayd Smith

ON March 16th we lost a truly great man and boxing really became irrelevant.

But in the end it was boxing that once again brought everyone back together.

Believe it or not – the Smithy’s TGW team was always extremely close knit – but now it’s even tighter. Brothers in arms, we will walk to the ring on Saturday night for ‘Smithy & TGW Bring the Big Fights 10’.

We all have our individual jobs to do, but collectively we will honour the late great Brayd Smith. The fighters will proudly box out of the orange corner and the crowd will be a sea of orange.

Brayd’s legacy will be emblazoned everywhere you look at Rumours International.

Many ask, how did the team do it? How did Brendon Smith give his usual whole hearted commitment to his fighters after losing his son?

How did each individual fighter rise up and want to continue their career after watching what happened to their great mate?

Very few know the answers to these questions. Be assured this is a great example of the spirit that exists within the walls of Smithy’s TGW Gym.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking – and it’s hard to argue – a part of that spirit we talk about that exists at Smithy’s TGW Gym is Braydon.

Never forgotten, never gone because those you love they never leave you they walk with you each and every day through life.

When the night rolls around there is no doubt everyone will walk out of Rumours International and say ‘What a great night and what a great send off for Braydon Smith.’

But very few will know what has gone on behind the scenes to make it possible. I’m not talking about physically – I’m talking about mentally.

After losing his son, Brendon Smith fought many battles, many which he is still battling today. Besides the obvious battles of grief, he was confronted with a massive trust issue.

Did he trust himself to be in the corner ever again, could he ever put himself in the position of trainer ever again – but for him the biggest question he asked was – ‘Do any of the fighters trust me to do the job for them?’

Before any decisions were made Brendon sat down with each and every fighter under his management. He needed to know what was going on inside their heads.

He talked to them all about the prospect of retirement particularly after they had witnessed first hand what can happen in the sport,but the answers he received from his fighters was overwhelming.

Firstly they all made it very clear to him they wanted to continue their careers and secondly they all said – ‘I wouldn’t want anyone other than Brendon Smith in my corner.’

The fighters made it very plain and clear – they all wanted to return to the ring.

With that endorsement it was then back onto Brendon, did he himself want to continue or perhap more importantly did he think he was capable of continuing.

After some deep soul searching he made the decision, June 27th was the date and ‘TGW & Smithy Bring the Big Fights 10’ would take place and it was business as usual.

But it really wasn’t, the term business as usual, business will never be ‘usual’ ever again, however everyone moved forward and got on with the job.

In getting on with the job the group did it together..they did it as brothers in arms. That’s boxers, trainers, training partners, assistants, office staff, EVERYONE.

Don’t think for a second – there wasn’t any tears, there was. There was plenty.

Whether it was Brendon remembering his son, Joel Stower remembering his best friend or boxers and fellow trainers remembering their team mate.

Smithy’s TGW Gym carries the motto ‘Champions in and out of the ring.’ Over the past ten weeks we have witnessed so many champion qualities, yes in the ring – but more so outside the ring.

This team has shown – just like Brayd Smith – they have hearts of gold.

The way they have supported each other has been incredible. When one member was down, everyone else rallied to pick them up.

Whether that be in the gym or on the running track where they’re guided by Tressa Lindenberg – Brayd’s aunty.

One particular session summed it all up.

The team was asked to touch spar for one hour straight. That’s featherwights, middleweights, heavyweights – novices, veterans, world champions – everyone was equal.

The group worked together like clock work. They all wore orange shirts for Brayd and they all helped one another and understood this session was about team work.

Not even once – did Brendon Smith or co-trainer Steven Spark have to ask any of the boys to ‘lighten up’ or ‘work together’ it just happened.

This was all behind closed doors – and probably seems fairly insignificant but for those in the ‘Smithy’s TGW Team’ this was one of the best days ever witnessed in the gym.

Further more it proved these young men are champions in and out of the ring and they truly have ‘hearts of gold’.

June 27 will come and go, the tears, the smiles, the knock downs – they’ll all continue – but this group will do it as brothers in arms.

It’s just over three months since we lost Brayd Smith, yes life has to go on but it’ll never be the same.

However this group wants to turn that into a positive, it’s definitely not the same, some will never get over what has happened – but together everyone will get through it.

Boxing is an individual sport, but together the Smithy’s TGW team is one. Side by side on June 27 this group will stand by one another, they will support each other and they will pick up each other.

There is no question it will be a tough night for all – none more so than Brendon Smith – but knowing he has a united team behind him will help him through it. Most importantly it’s a team that has 100% faith in him in every way.

Besides family perhaps no one has been closer to Smith than James O’Shea, whether it be a shoulder to cry on or some one to confide and trust in with his thoughts and plans.

Put yourself in Brendon Smith’s shoes – how easy would it be to crawl under a rock and never come out – and would you blame him if he did?

Those who know Brendon Smith and I mean really know him – Know that no one cares about their fighters more than Brendon Smith.

For him, it’s not about titles or glory, it’s about improving people as human beings, it’s about helping them forge a better life through boxing.

The champion of champions at Smithy’s TGW Gym is Brendon Smith. He hates the limelight, he wants no attention he doesn’t think he’s a leader – but he is – and he is in every sense of the word.

Many people in the Smithy’s TGW Gym family are in awe of Brendon Smith, many say he’s the strongest human being they know – and those opinions were formulated before the events of March 16.

On June 27 we say a final goodbye to his son Braydon – at the same time Brendon will be in the corner with his team of fighters helping them reach their goals.

Together we will stand beside Brendon Smith – brothers in arms united with hearts of gold – we say goodbye to Braydon but we also say thank you. Thank you Brayd for how you have and will always influence our lives.

Everyday is a long day without you Brayd, but we’ll tell you all about when we see you again.

Words: James O’Shea
Photo: Wildman Photography/Smithy’s TGW Promotions



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *