AS a child, Queanbeyan’s Stephen Peios would imitate great boxing announcers such as Michael Buffer… and now he’s an announcer for boxing legends in real life on the world stage.
It’s nearly been a dream come true for the 33-year-old who was a ring announcer for boxing at the Commonwealth Games last year, the FIFA Club World Cup in the same year and is currently in France hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Nearly, because he’s not stopping until he reaches his absolute goal, which is to be the biggest ring announcer in the world or to anchor for the premier league. But with a love for all sport and a passion for media, he says he’s really open to anything.
Stephen’s passion for sport started young and growing up he was always a massive sports nut.
“The thing I love the most about sport is it’s something that brings people together in a friendly way but also through friendly rivalries,” he says.
“It’s something that will divide people for the best of reasons when it comes to friendly banter.
“It also unites people from around the world and celebrates skills.
“I used to love everything from rugby league to football to boxing to netball to AFL to cricket.
“[At the age of eight] I would wake up at one o’clock on a Tuesday morning to watch the WCW (World Championship Wrestling) with my cousin.
“We’d talk to each other on the landline quietly hoping our parents wouldn’t hear. This was when I first saw Michael Buffer on the television.”
From about age nine, Stephen says he had a clear understanding of most sports.
“I could play most sports and knew a lot about them and the statistics,” he says.
“When I got to about 15 I would imitate the guys on the television. That was about the point I knew I wanted to be like those guys.”
It wasn’t until Stephen was 18 that he got his first gig on his local community radio station, QBN FM.
It was there where he would chat with his friend Jimmy Buckley for hours about sport.
“It was my first foray into the world of broadcasting, announcing, analysing and commentating,” he says.
“It wasn’t much, but it was something I loved and this went on for about 10 years before I had to give it away due to competing commitments.”
But he says it was where it all began.
His work on air flowed into opportunities at bigger stations and a couple of years later he ended up talking about sport on Saturday mornings on the AM station, 2CC.
“I remember being really nervous [when I first started doing work for 2CC],” he says.
“Now, I get up in front of full stadiums and nothing in the world bothers me.
“There’s no reason to get nervous now, I’ve had plenty of preparation and practice over the past 15 years.”
Over the past six years, Stephen’s gone from being a ring announcer locally to nationally and even got to work the Commonwealth Games last year.
“The Commonwealth Games was an unbelievable experience,” he says.
“It was a world-level event and to work with the world’s best amateur boxers in a high-pressure environment was a massive development for me.
“I really enjoyed the program on the Gold Coast and this just opened more doors.
“From there I was lucky enough to move on to do some big international football tournaments such as the FIFA Club World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup, a level which was massive on the world stage.
“Being recognised by FIFA and being called upon to go to France for the FIFA Women’s World Cup is a huge honour for me.”
While Stephen’s come a long way from his first gig at QBN FM he says he’s still not quite there yet.
The benchmarks for Stephen are voices such as Alan Parry, Martin Tyler or Joe Rogan.
“They’re the people you hear and remember,” he says.
“I’ve always had a belief in myself that I could get to the top of the profession.
“Coming out of Queanbeyan and Canberra it’s a little difficult because there’s not as many opportunities and not as many sporting clubs or teams end up on a national level.
“If I get to the level of Michael Buffer then that could be a point where I could say, now I’ve made it.”