They have developed such a close bond, Jeff Fenech often finds himself siding with his fighter Brock Jarvis over his daughter, who the boxer is dating.
One of Australia’s brightest boxing prospects, Jarvis has been in a five-year relationship with Kayla Fenech, an aspiring singer.
“She pretended that she was never interested, she said he was too young,” Fenech said.
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“She is 25 and Brock is 23 now but looks 18, so imagine back then, he looked 14.”
After the wedding of Fenech’s son Beau in October 2015, Jarvis and Kayla walked into the home hand-in-hand confirming their romance.
“So I got the knife out, played spin the bottle with him,” Fenech laughed.
“Look it actually puts me in a really difficult position at times, they do fight and I love my daughter, she expects me to be on her side all the time, but I try to be diplomatic and on Beau’s side as much as I can because I know that when you’re preparing for fights, you need to have a happy head.”
Jarvis wasn’t overwhelmed by the prospect of telling Fenech – one of Australia’s most feared and fearless fighters – that he was going out with his girl.
“We were just hanging out with each other, and me and Jeff have always been really close so it wasn’t hard,” Jarvis said.
And Fenech is at ease with the relationship particularly given Jarvis’ disciplined, singular lifestyle.
“Since the age of 16, I’ve pretty much just lived a life of eat, sleep, train,” said Jarvis, already ranked No.6 in the world by the IBF with an undefeated record of 18-0 (16KO).
“I don’t really have friends, I live alone, just down the road from Jeff. I hardly ever go out to a restaurant.
“Of course, it gets boring at times, but there are things I want to achieve, and these are the sacrifices you have to make.”
And the family history helps; Jarvis’ uncle Pat was the police officer who took a young, rough Fenech from the troubled streets and steered him to boxing trainer Johnny Lewis, while Jarvis’ aunty became Fenech’s nutritionist during his championship reign.
Fenech, a Hall of Fame legend, has only the highest praise for this tall young featherweight.
“He is the fittest fighter in the world,” Fenech said of Jarvis, whose daily 7km run takes all of 26 minutes.
“He will be fighting for a world title within 12 months.
“He is just getting better and better. I would love him to win the title I won, and the titles I didn’t, because I think he can do that.
“If he didn’t box, I don’t think I’d want to be involved in the sport, he reminds me of everything good about the sport.
“He’s not a loudmouth, he lets his fists do the talking. Since I’ve had him, he’s been the hardest worker in the gym, he gives you everything he’s got.
“If you look at his sponsors and the people who’ve supported him, they’re some of the richest and most influential people in Australia.
“(British promoter) Eddie Hearn has been ringing me to do a promotional deal with him overseas, we’ve met with Under Armour, they’re keen to do something with him. For me that is amazing, that they are trying to sign up an athlete of his experience, he’s just getting started.”
Under Armour, who sponsor NFL great Tom Brady, NBA star Steph Curry and Hollywood’s highest paid actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, have a limited affiliation with boxers, including two of the sport’s biggest names, Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua.
With the new deals and media exposure, Jarvis is set to become a household sporting name in Australia.
“But when you get rich and famous, it’s tough to stay focused, that was the start of my derailment.
“You think you stay humble but you don’t, you get a big head, I tried to lie to myself.
“But I’ll try to help Brock deal with it better than I did.”
As Jarvis’ trainer and manager, Fenech has taken on another role in the sweet science and has impressed.
“Jeff has transitioned from fighter to trainer to manager seamlessly, he has been extremely transparent and professional,” Jarvis’ promoter Dean Lonergan said.
Jarvis fights Kiwi Nort Beauchamp (18-3, 3KO) on April 24 in Canberra, to be shown live on Fox Sports.
“When I see my name at No.6 in the world, it’s exciting, everything is coming together,” Jarvis said.
“I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing, because it can all get taken away pretty easily.”