Fairfield City Senior Constable Dave Cafferatta set for NSW Police Boxing fight night

Winning the battle: Fairfield City Senior Constable Dave Cafferatta. Picture: Simon Bennett
Winning the battle: Fairfield City Senior Constable Dave Cafferatta. Picture: Simon Bennett

In his blurb about why he is taking part in the NSW Police Boxing fight night 'Go The Distance' on November 20, Fairfield City Senior Constable Dave Cafferatta ended with a quote from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: "Blood, sweat and respect. First two you give... last one you earn."

The 39-year-old has certainly earned the respect of everyone in the police community.

Rewind to 2015 and he had hit rock bottom. More than a decade on the NSW Police Force had started to taking its toll physically and mentally.

As a police officer, he was running into situations that most people run away from. While at Parramatta, he experienced the full gamut of first response policing including murder and suicide and was one of the first on the scene at theCurtis Cheng murder.

Slowly but surely it crept up on him. At his lowest point he was homeless and sleeping in his car.

"I was eating, drinking a lot, not sleeping and my temper was changing," he said.

"At one point I was 180 kilograms. I was sick and suffering."

So he got help and learnt how to deal with post traumatic stress disorder. The doctor also gave him a grim warning about his excess weight gain.

"He said that if I don't do anything, I was going to die," he said.

Dave Cafferatta's weight ballooned to 180 kilograms.

Dave Cafferatta's weight ballooned to 180 kilograms.

So Senior Constable Cafferatta, who has been based at Fairfield for a year, did something. He turned to boxing.

He was inspired by a quote from perhaps screen's greatest rags-to-riches boxing icon Rocky Balboa: "Life is not about how hard you can hit, but how much you can get hit and still keep moving forward."

Gone were the sugar drinks. They were replaced with water and a thirst to quench the discipline and control of life in the ring.

Even simple things like breathing became a focus for not only training but dealing with stressful situations.

Training at Cabramatta PCYC and imitating his favourite boxer Tyson Fury, he shed 80 kilograms.

He is currently preparing for his third Police Boxing night in support of NSW Police Legacy. His record stands at one win and a split-decision loss.

He is raising funds to provide essential financial assistance and social programs and experiences to the widows, widowers and dependent children of deceased police officers. So far he has raised $1360.

Never give up: Dave Cafferatta. Picture: Simon Bennett

Never give up: Dave Cafferatta. Picture: Simon Bennett

Officially his opponent is a police officer from Albury, Dave Forland. But this is an individual challenge.

"Boxing is my medication. I always want do something better with myself every day...step by step, move forward and never give up. With a positive mind you can do all things," he said.

"That's the challenge with boxing, it's not a team sport like soccer or football...it's just you. If you're having an off day you can't rely on your teammates.

"I'm always setting new goals. When you climb a mountain, you need to find a higher one."

People might just be quoting him in the future.