A former senior bikie and Thaiboxing champion says his fight school is about keeping men out of trouble.
A former senior bikie and Thaiboxing champion says his fight school is about keeping men out of trouble.

Inside the underworld gym where ex-bikies, killers work out

A gym used by a swath of Brisbane's highest-profile underworld figures has been set up by a former senior bikie who says he's helping keep young men out of jail by teaching them how to fight.

The heavily fortified gym with wall-to-wall CCTV camera coverage has been filled with expensive equipment by Kerry "Nugget" McNaught, a former national Thaiboxing champion and high-ranking Bandidos Centro chapter member.

 

Convicted killers and drug traffickers, ex-bikies, doctors, teachers and champion fighters are among those to train at the Slacks Creek gym in Brisbane's south.

McNaught told The Courier-Mail he left Australia for Thailand in 2012 over the then LNP government's controversial bikie laws and only returned last year.

During his time overseas the former national lightweight champion was the national Thai boxing coach for both Malaysia and Singapore.

"I think I saw the dramas in Australia and all the laws, VLAD laws, I just thought why would I even walk back into that?" McNaught said.

"I was getting dragged out of restaurants in the Valley, I used to go to a Thai restaurant, they'd come and harass me there. We were getting harassed weekly.

"I suppose I just waited my time (overseas). In the end I started getting all these opportunities in Asia."

Those pictured training at the new Brisbane gym include a group of former senior Bandidos - past president Sava Cvetkovic, ex-Centro chapter president George Bejat, ex-sergeant-at-arms Zivko Stojakovic and ex-member and convicted killer Bogdan Cuic.

Former Bandidos president Sava Cvetkovic, former high-ranking member Kerry
Former Bandidos president Sava Cvetkovic, former high-ranking member Kerry "Nugget" McNaught and former Bandidos Centro president George Bejat.

Infamous playboy Bejat, who once drove a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo plated "SRB PWR" and who has had numerous brushes with the law, regularly trains at the gym.

 

The centrepiece of the gym, NTG Fight and Fitness, is a $30,000 boxing ring which coincidentally has the black and gold colours used by the Comancheros motorcycle gang.

Brothers Daniel and Leon Valusaga, convicted of the retribution killing of a man at a party in Logan in 2006, are also seen there training. So is convicted drug trafficker Scott Nathan Adams.

Ex-Bandidos Centro president George Bejat leaving Brisbane Magistrate Court. Picture: Liam Kidston
Ex-Bandidos Centro president George Bejat leaving Brisbane Magistrate Court. Picture: Liam Kidston

But despite Brisbane's underbelly flocking to the gym McNaught says the only business that takes place is fitness and training, with high-profile professional fighters and even kids taking part.

"I'm not scared to say I'm an ex-bikie," he said.

"I've got doctors here, school teachers, footy trainers, you name it, every demographic, I've got them here. I've got a lot of families. Kids.

"I've got nothing to hide. Yeah I had a bit of a colourful history before leaving for Asia. Like any young guy does. Seven years in Asia, I realise what is right and what is wrong in my life. "And I'm just trying to live my life and do the best job I can do and help people."

Leon Valusaga (left), Kerry McNaught (middle), Dan Valusaga (third from right), Toby
Leon Valusaga (left), Kerry McNaught (middle), Dan Valusaga (third from right), Toby "the weapon" Smith and Junior Tafa (right)

Big name athletes to use the gym include UFC heavyweight fighter Justin Tafa, his brother and Glory kickboxing heavyweight Junior Tafa, heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai, Muaythai super middleweight Toby "The Weapon" Smith and up and coming lightweight prospect Kane Singleton.

Former world champion kickboxer-turned Hells Angels bikie-turned Logan councillor Scott Bannan is another high-profile figure to use the gym facilities.

 

Former Bare Knuckle Fighting Champion and now Bellator fighter Bec Rawlings has been pictured sparring, while separately Schapelle Corby's half brother James Kisina has also been spotted with gloves on.

Former Hells Angels bikie turned Logan councillor Scott Bannan with Kerry McNaught.
Former Hells Angels bikie turned Logan councillor Scott Bannan with Kerry McNaught.

 

McNaught refused to speak about gang life other than saying he previously joined the Bandidos because of camaraderie.

He said there was a "stigma" with gang membership.

"It just sticks to you," McNaught said.

"It doesn't matter whether you do good or bad, it will always come up.

"They're not doing their job properly (police) if they're saying you are a gang (member). It is easy to paint someone and say 'associate'. Man I grew up with some of these guys, I've known them forever."

 

Heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai with Kerry McNaught.
Heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai with Kerry McNaught.

 

 

When asked why he once joined a bikie gang he responded: 'Am I going to be a Tattersall's club member?'

"They're not going to take me, but those groups, yeah," McNaught said.

"They were all good blokes. As much as people can paint them as bad blokes, they were never bad to me. I had some of the best times of my life with those guys."

Dan Valusaga (left), Kerry McNaught, Leon Valusaga (right).
Dan Valusaga (left), Kerry McNaught, Leon Valusaga (right).

He said he didn't have a criminal history although he has previously been convicted of having a folding knife in a public place in 2009.

"I've never sold a drug in my life," McNaught said.

"I wouldn't even know what drugs looked like. I've never taken drugs, never smoked a cigarette. Never had a beer.

"On my lowest day, my worst day, never thought about it.

"That's why I get angry sometimes, the police, the judging of me.

"Maybe they think I'm a mastermind or a manipulator.

"I can honestly say my whole life I've helped young c***s that would've ended up in jail one million per cent for violent acts," he said.

Former senior Bandidos Centro chapter member Kerry
Former senior Bandidos Centro chapter member Kerry "Nugget" McNaught.

McNaught questioned Labor's consorting laws in Queensland. It's understood some of the people who attend his gym come at different times as the laws prevent three people with criminal convictions meeting together.

McNaught claimed the laws were "un-Australian".

"I understand the legality of the consorting laws and everything but you are still a human being," he said.

"You still have human rights. If you get caught for doing something wrong, yes, you are going to go to jail, that's part of life, everybody knows that.

"But when you are just going to a shop, or just wanting to sit with a mate, some guy could be thinking about knocking himself, killing himself, and he just makes one call to his mate and says 'bro can we sit and I've had a bad night I just want to talk' (and they can't meet), that's wrong.

"They just want him to sit by himself and die? With the issues of mental health these days I think they are doing more damage, making guys angrier."

 

Former Bandidos Centro members George Bejat (left), Kerry McNaught (centre) and Zivko Stojakovic.
Former Bandidos Centro members George Bejat (left), Kerry McNaught (centre) and Zivko Stojakovic.

 

McNaught ran kickboxing events in Queensland before he went overseas and wants to start promotional events again.

He said his event at Chandler was shut down in 2012 by police after a bomb scare which he believes was a "stitch up".

"I feel like my livelihood was stolen from me with the police shutting down the show," he said. "It destroyed my business.

"They painted me as some 'bad boy bikie'. The only thing they could arrest me was for my good looks. And I'd probably get three light sentences," he joked.

McNaught said he was also planning an autobiography.

 

Originally published as Inside the underworld gym where ex-bikies and killers work out


Reducing isolation and funding tourism part of $65k funding

Premium Content Reducing isolation and funding tourism part of $65k funding

TWO organisations in the Western Downs are set to receive a huge cash windfall in...

Alert: Storms, heatwaves and falling bats

Premium Content Alert: Storms, heatwaves and falling bats

Storms, heatwaves and falling bats predicted

CRIME WRAP: Health service raided, teen arrested for threats

Premium Content CRIME WRAP: Health service raided, teen arrested for threats

A DALBY health service was broken into, while a teenager was arrested for causing a...