Beau O'Brien is an accomplished boxer, but the toughest fight he's faced was out of the ring.

In 2012, the Napier man was already a father and just 20 when he learned he had another child on the way.

He needed to boost his income fast, so answered an ad for a lawn mowing franchise.

"They wanted about $25,000 just for the client base and then they wanted further money to get the tools and equipment needed to start the job," O'Brien said.

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Unable to raise the cash, he decided to build his own lawn mowing business. So he started door knocking, sometimes with a baby on his hip.

"I don't mind door knocking, I don't mind talking to people - just getting out into the community and promoting something that is good for the community," O'Brien said.

"Doing that with my daughter was even more fun. People love to see a newborn baby and to see a young dad getting out there and getting it done.

Beau and family circa 2012. Photo / supplied
Beau and family circa 2012. Photo / supplied

"My first customer was a lady called Syria, on McGrath St, and she is still one of my clients. I have a lot of time for her.

"She's watched my business grow, she's watched my family grow. She's watched me grow into an adult really."

Last year O'Brien became the national UBF and New Zealand Professional Boxing Association's middleweight champion, but this year put boxing on hold to focus on business and family.

The 27-year-old is now a father to three girls and his business, Bo's Mow's, has come full circle. He has sold several franchises, each with a customer base and guaranteed income.

He's no longer a fresh-faced young dad. He sports a mohawk and is covered in tattoos.

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Beau O'Brien and one of his many loyal customers. Photo / Patrick O'Sullivan
Beau O'Brien and one of his many loyal customers. Photo / Patrick O'Sullivan

"I think the time we live in now is really good," he said. "People are a lot more open to the variety of people we get here in Hawke's Bay. I'm proud of the way I stand and if people don't like it then they don't have to go with us."

O'Brien plans to take Bo's Mow's to Waipukurau and then nationwide. He says he's still bucking the system because the financial barriers to becoming a franchisee are about half the going rate with a guaranteed income.

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