The pig hunter from Reporoa Jayden Ball has issued a challenge to New Zealand's number one amateur heavyweight boxing champion David Nyika.
The two will meet at a Boxing New Zealand event on Saturday, July 20 in Rotorua.
A stellar performance in the last two years has seen amateur heavyweight boxer Jayden win the 2018 and 2019 Golden Gloves titles. Coach Powell Marshall of Nuki's Taupo Boxing Gym says people are taking notice of Jayden because in the six fights between the two Golden Gloves, four were won by stoppage.
"Either Jayden KO'd them [knocked them out] or the referee stopped the fight for safety reasons."
With a chilled-out temperament, as a youngster Jayden says he didn't stand for any s**t.
Sick of rugby injuries, he switched to boxing in 2015, initially for the fitness and says it took a couple of years before his first fight. He says he finds boxing "quite an adrenalin rush."
Powell says for Jayden to have got this far so quickly is quite an achievement.
"Jayden is on 16 bouts and David Nyika is on 70-something bouts."
In the past David has been a source of encouragement to Jayden, encouraging him to keep up the sport when he lost his first fight, and when Jayden was coming back from a broken hand after victory in the 2018 Golden Gloves, David sparred with him.
"[Jayden] only had a short lead up to this year's Golden Gloves at Queens Birthday Weekend, and he won," Powell says.
Jayden trains nine times a week, doing runs and sprints. He trained as a butcher when he left school at 16 and says that working at Farm and Game Meat Processors is like weightlifting.
"The boss [employer Andrew Elmiger] said I can train in the morning and come to work in the afternoon."
His coach, self-employed forestry chainsaw contractor Powell, is a volunteer as are all Jayden's supporters at Nuki's Boxing Gym.
Jayden says Powell and Kaz, Powell's wife, have been like family to him, and says other helpers at Nukis, including Milos Dinic Ristic, have been supportive. Jayden's dad, Kevin Ball, has so far missed only one of Jayden's fights.
Taupo businesses have also supported the young boxer, buying tables at the Golden Gloves.
"My mum reckons it's a horrible feeling as a mother seeing what happens. But she supports me and cheers. She chews most of her fingernails off when I'm in the ring," says Jayden.
Training is entirely up to Jayden, and Powell says as coach his role is mentoring and coming up with a fight plan.
Powell knows Jayden will be giving it all in the ring and says he could win.
As for Jayden, he aims to do three good rounds.
"There are not many people in New Zealand who can do the distance against David Nyika. He will be a difficult fighter."
Powell says that Jayden's boxing style is like a hunter-stalker.
"And then he hits them hard."
He says David is a classy boxer who uses distance, movement, speed and unorthodox methods.
A challenge had to be issued as David is overseas furthering his boxing career. In May he won gold at the Feliks Stamm International Boxing tournament in Poland.
"We wanted to have a go before the Nationals in October. The New Zealand Elite Men's Team coach Billy Meehan pushed for this to happen," said Powell.
And what will Jayden do if he wins?
"I'll take a weekend off training and go hunting!"
Support Jayden Ball in his bid to be New Zealand amateur heavyweight champion. Boxing New Zealand CNI Championships will be held at Selwyn Primary School in Rotorua on Saturday, July 20. More details from email@example.com
: 173cm (5'8")
: Golden Gloves New Zealand 2018/19
Height: 193cm (6'4")
Title: 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist men's heavyweight division, 2019 New Zealand amateur men's heavyweight champion