Finishing 2019 arguably as the most improved female boxer in New Zealand, Tauranga's
Ariane Nicholson is making big moves in 2020.
She is one of nine New Zealand amateur boxers who have set out on the biggest assignments of their boxing careers, chasing qualifying berths for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Last year was a big one for Nicholson. She secured two international titles, her first New Zealand title and went into the ring on 12 occasions without defeat. This year could be one of even bigger milestones having left New Zealand this week as part of the Boxing New Zealand team for an extensive training camp in Thailand.
From there, she will head to China at the end of the month to take part in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Wuhan from February 3-14.
Olympic boxing qualification is determined by performances on four continents - Americas, Asia-Oceania, Africa and Europe - and the last chance World Qualification tournament in Paris in May 2020.
Up to five Olympic berths are on the line at both the Asia-Oceania and World Qualifying tournaments, with a semifinal finish securing a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Coached by Billy Meehan, the New Zealand Boxing team includes Nicholson, south Auckland's Tasmyn Benny, Manawatu's Amy Andrew, Shamrock's Troy Garton, Auckland's Dominic Roe, Jerome Pampellone, David Nyika, Wellington's Ryan Scaife and Canterbury's Uila Mau'u.
In the last 12 months several Kiwi amateur boxers performed with distinction on the world stage.
Nyika, a double Commonwealth Games Gold medalist, re-inked his world ranking with international success.
At the Felik Stamm tournament in Poland, David dominated the heavyweight division winning the gold medal and also being named boxer of the tournament.
A three-peat at the Australasian Super Eight and a top sixteen finish at the Men's World Championships, rounded out a successful 12 months for the New Zealand heavyweight.
Arguably the most improved boxer in New Zealand last season, was Jerome Pampellone who came from the shadows on the world stage, to finish in the top eight at the World Championships.
Many ringside at the World titles in Russia, were hugely impressed after the Kiwi fighter earned a unanimous points decision over the world No 3, in the light heavyweight class in the round of 16.
New Zealand female flyweight Tasmyn Benny also experienced her time in the international spotlight after winning her way to the gold medal contest at the Boxing Valenciana tournament in Spain, returning home with a silver medal.
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Boxing New Zealand Team:
F 51kg Tasmyn Benny (south Auckland)
F 57kg Amy Andrew (Manawatu)
F 60kg Troy Garton (Shamrock)
F 69kg Ariane Nicholson (Bay of Plenty)
M 69kg Dominic Roe (Auckland)
M 75kg Ryan Scaife (Wellington/Hutt Valley)
M 81kg Jerome Pampellone (Auckland)
M 91kg David Nyika (Auckland)
M 91+kg Uila Mau'u (Canterbury)
Head coach: Billy Meehan.
Assistant coach: Thomas Rangiawha.
World Olympic Qualifying Tournament: Paris, France, May 13-24.