Western United players meet the Lionsden Boxing Academy


As Victoria continues to navigate living through a pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues.

Last week, Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti, Olympian Lachie Wales and goalkeeper Ryan Scott decided to surprise four members of the Lionsden Boxing Academy with a virtual jersey swap.

The three players jumped on a zoom call with Jacob Cassar and his younger mentees Max, Steve, Dean to chat about the importance of keeping physically and socially active while the gym is closed due to Victoria’s lockdown.

Cassar is an inspired, young boxer and national champion who dreams of one day performing at the Olympics.

When asked who his biggest role models are, his answer was clear: “Dia”.

“It is because he’s dedicated to being the best at his sport but when he’s not playing it looks like he’s still normal and not too serious,” Cassar said.

“And he’s funny and humble and loves his job even though there would be lots of pressure, and he tells everyone to be happy and have fun.

“I love boxing it’s so much fun and I want to still be happy and love my job if I make it to be professional and successful too.”

All four are fans of the Green and Black and football in general, having attended United matches last season and were thrilled at the opportunity to talk to some of the A-League’s best players.


Lionsden Boxing Academy is a family boxing gym born out of the garage of owner Igor Pocev and has now grown across three locations in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The academy has a heavy focus on fitness, self-defence, community, and inclusion.

They work with Brimbank City Council to provide a free community program called Empowering Moves, which teaches youth to build confidence and overcome social conflict.

The United players stressed the importance of keeping in touch with friends and family, which is currently more essential than ever.

Be sure to check in on your friends this R U OK Day, and every other day, and have a conversation that could change a life. Click here for more info on R U OK.

Watch the video of the virtual jersey swap here.