Four-time boxing world champ, Danny Green reflects on dad tatts, “winging it” and the life-changing letter he wrote to his old man
“I’ve got a tattoo of my daughter Chloe (17) on my bicep and one of my son Archie (11) on my forearm. Then I’ve got my old man tattooed on my arm as well.
“The tattoo of my dad captures this moment after my last fight when he came into the ring and I gave him this big hug. I got my tattoo of that embrace and it was done before dad passed away so he knew that I had it. That was special to me.”
“We were given a warning that dad wasn’t going to be around for that much longer with his dementia. And so I started writing him a letter.
“I wrote down all my thoughts and memories about the great moments that I shared with my dad. I wrote down why I loved him so much. Why I respected him so much. It was a really long letter.
“Then I printed it out, put some photos in there and gave it to him. It was a present on his last Christmas with us. At that stage, dad still had all his marbles so he was able to read it, comprehend it and absolutely understand how his son felt about him.
“For me, I was so happy that I got to tell dad how I really felt about him , If I hadn’t done that, then I would be living in regret each day. I was very close to my old man and all my siblings have the same relationship. Dad was my role model and my inspiration. Now, I want to have that same relationship with my own kids.
“I was always putting off having kids because I was scared. I was afraid of the unknown. So I would use the excuse, ‘Oh, I want to be set up, I want to make sure that I’m financially stable.’ And then in the end, I said to the missus, ‘Well, everyone else manages it’.”
“When we first had our first child, we weren’t financially set up or stable whatsoever. But you just wing it and you get through it. So my advice to anyone thinking about having kids is: ‘Just do it, man’. Get a baby into your life as soon as you can. Have a child because it just enhances your life so much.
“My daughter Chloe was born when I was 28, seven months into my pro career. Fatherhood gave me a really, really strong focus to be successful. I’ve always been very driven. But when she came along, I kicked into another gear because I wanted to be able to provide for her.
“I’m not dad of the year or anything. But I do have one regret as a father: not having more children. I mean I’ve been blessed – I’m very, very, very lucky to have two healthy kids. But these days I do sometimes think, “Wow, I wish I had one or two more.”
“I don’t place any pressure on my kids to do anything they don’t want to do. I simply support them. I do what my dad did. He never pushed me or yelled – he was a really quiet guy, old school. But he was always there with me. If I was being a galah, he’d come and pull my head in. I’d always ask my old man for advice and he’d tell me if he didn’t think I was doing the smartest thing. And I’d listen to what he would say.
“The best advice he gave me? Surround yourself with good people.
“How would I feel if Archie (11) wanted to become a boxer? As I said, I don’t push my kids, but I’ve been teaching my boy how to throw punches since almost before he could walk. And he’s a natural puncher – the kid can just punch. He picks it all up almost immediately.
“If he wanted to be a fighter then he has all the ingredients as far as the genetics and his build. He’s athletic. He’s heavy-handed, he’s heavy-boned, he’s a tough little bugger and he’s pretty willing.
“I’m teaching him how to handle himself as I know that one day my son is going to have a physical alteration where he’s going to need to defend himself. What I teach him is, ‘Mate, If you can avoid it, avoid it at all costs. Walk away.’ But one of these days, I know he’s going to have to fight his way out of trouble.
“If he wanted to be a fighter, I’d just say, ‘Look son, I’ll be there to support you and be with you. If it’s what you really want to do and you love it, and you’re doing it properly, then you have my 100% support.’”
“My daughter has just got back from taking part in a big international competition in France with the junior Australian swimming team. I was incredibly proud to see her wear the green and gold cap. When people say that she gets that competitive streak from me, I say: ‘No mate, her will to win is all down to her’. Watching her train inspires me. In my last fight, when I had to dig deep, I thought of her and it gave me the motivation to solider on and win.
“What advice would I give to someone who was about to become a dad? Batten down the hatches and strap in for a wild ride.”
Danny Green is a partner in 12RND Fitness, the new training system that allows you to complete a 45-minute strength and conditioning workout that replicates the physical demands of a 12-round championship bout.