Four Rotorua boxers are about to take on their Transtasman rivals in a new event in Australia.
Rotorua's Central North Island Boxing Club's Maea Hay, Kevin Hay, Naturelle Rangiawha and Kahu Rangiawha will fight their Australian counterparts in an event run by the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra today.
Trainer Rex Jenkins says the team includes 19 boxers, whose selection was based on their performances at the North Island Golden Gloves competition earlier this year.
"It is good to see four boxers from here being the best in the country. We also have a big training session at AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] on Sunday. I have been there before and it doesn't matter if you go there 100 times, you will still come out with more knowledge," Jenkins said.
The fighters have been doing three, two-hour training sessions each week as well as their own work.
"It takes a lot of dedication, keeping your mind on the job and you have to train hard. They have homework they have to do, which is out on the roads running, skipping and if you are lucky enough to have bag they do bag work at home.
"A lot of people get the wrong impression of boxing, amateur boxing is taught as an Olympic sport. We don't teach kids to knock one another out we teach them solely to score points."
Jenkins says training young boxers has many challenges but this group are good kids.
"You have to keep at it and at it, when they are sparring you pull them up and say they are not doing things quite right. You have to be consistent and we have seen the weakest kids become the best boxers."
Boxing New Zealand chairman Keith Walker says the event is a great initiative.
"The tournament is arranged by the boxing Australia people who are in the institute and they have done the match-ups. It is probably the first international bout for all of them. It is a first for us, in the past Boxing New Zealand has not done much for the juniors and cadets and we are quite excited. It is the first steps in what we hope is a long career.
"The more variable competition they can have the more they can improve. It is a very good opportunity for boxers from all over New Zealand."
Rotorua boxers competing in Australia Institute of Sport tournament:
Maea Hay, 66kg junior category.
Kevin Hay, 57kg cadet category.
Naturelle Rangiawha, 50kg cadet category.
Kahu Rangiawha, 46kg cadet category.