Jackson England is one of Australia’s brightest young boxing prospects, championing his home town of Mandurah as he wins fight after fight around Australia and the world.
With more than 10 wins under his belt and the titles of Australian and Australasian featherweight champion, he preaches the importance of being a gentleman in and out of the ring.
Behind a cool, calm exterior, ‘Action’ as he is better known, is one of the most focused and determined people I have ever met – knocking out every opponent between him and his world title dream.
At just 22 years old, this powerhouse boxing star, coach, personal trainer and the City of Mandurah’s 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, has not let his burgeoning success go to his head.
‘Action’ Jackson is the second profile in the new Mandurah Millennials on a Mission series, as we meet the young people from around the region helping to shape a new narrative.
The series aims to provide an insight into some of the fresh new talent who have grown up in our great city, and are just getting started making a name for themselves.
Introducing ‘Action’ Jackson England
The first thing I notice when I meet ‘Action’ Jackson is his very strong handshake.
I laugh quietly as I lead him towards the interview room at the Mandurah Mail office, subtly massaging my hand back to life before he notices.
Jackson instantly strikes me as a suave guy, but, as we sit down to chat, I can tell he is also very grateful for any opportunity that comes his way.
I’m not a nervous person, but I get excited and overwhelmed when people congratulate me or when I do interviews about myself.
“I’m not a nervous person, but I get excited and overwhelmed when people congratulate me or when I do interviews about myself,” he said.
“I will never not feel nervous talking to you, or Justin (Rake) in interviews, or meeting the mayor.”
Nervous? Talking to me? If only he could’ve seen how much my hands were shaking under the table – I was the one talking to an international boxing champion! Plus, they were still recovering from that handshake.
But it just reiterated how humble Jackson is and, although I had done interviews with him before, I was excited to dive a little deeper into how ‘Action’ achieved his success at such a young age and where he is headed next on this journe
Memories of moving to Mandurah
Born and raised in western Sydney, Jackson describes his younger years as being spent “running amok in Penrith”.
That is, until he was about 10 years old and relocated to the west coast with his mum, step-dad and older sister.
I expect him to throw in a line or two here about dreading the move and not being too stoked about changing schools – I know I would’ve thrown some kind of 10-year-old tantrum if it was me.
But Jackson said his family were excited to “get a fresh start” and “were blown away by how beautiful Mandurah is”.
“As we drove from the airport down to Mandurah, I was shocked how many trees there were along the road, how everything was just so different and I couldn’t believe all the water that was just right there,” he said.
“I still remember that like it was yesterday. I was so grateful, and I still am, to be here.
“The first place we went to was Port Bouvard and that’s where my family still live now.”
Jackson went on to recount some of his favourite memories of Mandurah growing up, from the ocean to the local cafes and restaurants.
“There’s so many beautiful things here and the people are amazing,” he said.
“We’ve got it so good and we take it for granted but it’s mellow, it’s friendly, there’s beaches everywhere, wildlife, water, sun, everything.
“There’s so much down here that people don’t bother seeing because they hear stories but it is so fun and happy, there is a beach around every corner and the people are so nice.”
‘Boxing comes so natural to me’
Boxing doesn’t just run through Jackson’s blood, it is in his DNA.
His biological father, grandfather and both of his uncles all fought professionally throughout their lives.
“My biological father was in the top three in Australia at his time of fighting professionally and his dad was one of the best middleweights in Australian boxing for a very long time,” Jackson said.
“Boxing comes so natural, so rhythmic to me that I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
“Both my mum and dad danced as well and they had quite a lot of talent and I’m also big into music and dancing. I think a lot of my passion for that and sport comes from a combination of them both.”
But, it was an “ultimatum” from his step-dad when he was 14 that led to Jackson’s decorated career in boxing.
“Growing up, I loved any contact sports, anything to do with fighting, martial arts, boxing and I was going on school camp and he wanted me to decide what I was going to do while I was away,” he said.
“I was up in the air as to whether to pick performing or fighting then my step-dad took me down to Moorey’s Martial Arts to meet my first coach, Eddie.”
Jackson trained and had all of his amateur fights under Ed, who he said helped him to where he is today.
From there, he moved to Onyx Performance Centre in Cockburn to take the next step in his career, where he met his current coach, Jay.
“He is just like another father figure to me – not only is he a coach, a mentor but he’s also my boss and my friend,” Jackson said.
“I work as the head boxing coach out of the gym now and as a personal trainer. Being the coach there as well as fighting professionally under him, he’s just done so much for me.
“I’m very grateful to have a lot of the people in my life that I’ve learnt from and been influenced by.”
So what about that nickname?
I have done a few stories with Jackson in the past and never once asked him about where is nickname came from, but it was the first question dotted down on my notepad to ask in this interview.
‘Action’ Jackson just rolls off the tongue and it suits his energetic, boisterous performances in the ring.
Jackson said it started with his first coach, Ed.
“Action was always a muck around name that Ed would always use and then it started catching on with the family,” he said.
“When I had my first professional fight, I was just Jackson England, but in my second fight, a lot of the people, the commentators, the promoter that night – they were already calling me Action.
“I think I bring a lot of energy and action to the ring in the way I fight.”
Jackson said he believes in an element of entertainment in boxing, but reiterated how important it was to always show good sportsmanship.
“There are times to fight but it’s often showmanship – it’s two different people squaring off to see who’s better,” he said.
“You don’t need to be aggressive as you are in the ring, outside of the ring. You can be friends before and after and you must show respect but in the ring, unfortunately, he’s trying to punch me in the face and I’m trying to punch him in the face.
“People pay money to see a fight, to see something they’ve never seen before and I love being in those lights, being able to showcase myself, putting on a performance.
“I want them to remember Jackson England.”
A day in the life
Jackson’s day begins at 4.50 every morning. I awkwardly, but quite literally, yawn in front of him just thinking about it.
He heads straight to the gym to help his coach set up for the 5.30 morning class before joining in for his “first session of the day” – yes, there is more than one.
After training legs or some strength and conditioning in that class, he takes a few personal training sessions throughout the morning.
Then he does a “middle day session” – perhaps a 10 kilometre run or some boxing technique work.
I like to consider myself a pretty active person but I would be lucky to complete half of one of these sessions on any normal day.
“After that, I’ve got enough time, I might have a bit of a sleep back at my house or I might run around and do a few errands,” Jackson said.
“Then I’ll be back at the gym in the afternoon to teach kids classes as well as another boxing class and straight after that, I train for two hours.
“I just go home to chill and get as much sleep as I possibly can but I don’t sleep much, I usually get a maximum of four hours at a time.”
I don’t really rest ever over the holidays or after a fight or anything and that’s because I love it and I see the big picture.
As I come to terms with Jackson’s weekday schedule and the fact that he doesn’t require 15 hours of sleep a night to get through it, he then goes on to tell me about his weekends.
He is like an Energizer bunny.
“On Saturdays, I will teach a class, take a few personal training sessions and then train,” he said.
“Sunday I might do one session or take it as a rest day, but usually I can’t turn my brain off.
“It’s pretty repetitive but I try to shake it up as much as possible.
“Even if I don’t have a fight penciled in, I still train two-three times a day.
“I don’t really rest ever over the holidays or after a fight or anything and that’s because I love it and I see the big picture.”
‘The big picture’
It’s not often you meet someone as determined and focused as Action Jackson.
It is mere minutes into our interview, talking about how he got started in boxing, before he mentions his “dream”.
“I’ve always had the same dream, that dream has never changed,” Jackson said.
“The goal is to be a world champion and not only get the recognition from the world but also I want everyone to enjoy that success with me, because it wasn’t just me that got me here.
“I’ve got the people behind me, I’ve got the drive and I’m looking to get to that world title shot.
“All of the little things matter, like all those extra training sessions – never leave a stone unturned.”
I’ve got the people behind me, I’ve got the drive and I’m looking to get to that world title shot.
When I tell him I think that’s inspiring, he quickly corrects me.
“I don’t think it’s inspiring, I’m just doing my thing,” he said.
“Everyone can do it. Everyone wakes up and goes to work and I put that same thought process into what I do because it’s my job.
“I’m a personal trainer and a boxing coach at the gym but one day I’m hoping I don’t have to do that and I can just get paid to train and fight from sponsors and promoters.
“Then, after winning a world title, I want to have my own gym one day and pass on my knowledge but that’s in the long run when I’m not fighting anymore.
“It’s my mum’s dream that, if she had the money, she would have a boxing gym connected to a dance studio and I would love to have the same one day.”
Sportsperson of the Year
In November, Jackson was named the City of Mandurah Sportsperson of the Year – an accolade he said he had “no chance whatsoever” of winning.
Unfortunately, he was (voluntarily) sweating through 10-hour training days in Thailand and couldn’t be at the ceremony, but had his proud mum and step-dad accept the award on his behalf.
Despite boasting an Australian and an international title, Jackson said it stands as one of his greatest accomplishments.
“When the nominations went out, I said to my family I really didn’t think I was going to win,” he laughed.
“I was devastated I couldn’t be there. I had just finished three sessions for the day, laying in bed absolutely thrashed when mum rings me to tell me I’ve won. I was so shocked.
“The support I get from people around Mandurah is amazing and I’m very grateful for it. I was so happy to win that award.
“I get the motivation and the drive from my friends and family, my coach, my team and the Mandurah community. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
‘Action’ Jackson’s fourth next fight is March 6th on the Thunderdome series in Perth Western Australia and is looking to kick off the year with a bang.