Leroy Hindley was the kind of boy who didn't shy away from a dust-up in the school playgrounds while growing up in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I got into school scraps as a young kid. I was just a little rascal," says Hindley while visiting the Craig McDougall-run Hastings Giants Boxing Academy.

There he and fellow Wellingtonian Ryan Scaife sparred with homeboy Saili Fiso as well as Chris Wellnitz, of Auckland, of the Cameron Todd Boxing Club three weekends ago.

"I was just a hyperactive little kid who didn't want to take anyone's drama," he says.


But all that changed when he moved to New Zealand as a 12-year-old with his parents, Beryl, a Work and Income call centre employee, and Glen Hindley, a warden at Rimutaka Prison, and elder brother Reagan.

"My parents just wanted a better childhood for me and my brother," he says of the now 32-year-old Reagan.

As a teenager at high school Hindley did work experience for trainer Ryan Scaife, who enticed him into boxing. A chat with Ryan's brother, Harry, a former national amateur champion, ensued before he started dancing around the ring in his last year at school in 2010.

"Ever since that I haven't looked back," says the 25-year-old who will jet off on April 1 with Ryan Scaife and six other fellow national teammates to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

It's Hindley's second stint at the Commonwealth Games after representing New Zealand at the 2014 Glasgow Games.

"I think the atmosphere won't be as daunting as first time around so I've been to a few big tournaments and I'm looking forward to it."

The 69kg welterweight division boxer is an orthodox fighter but can switch to southpaw to frustrate his opponents. He only stepped into the ring for the enjoyment and hadn't harboured any desires to court international attention initially.

Leroy Hindley captures the welcoming of the National Youth Theatre Dance Group of Great Britain to the athletes' village at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo/file
Leroy Hindley captures the welcoming of the National Youth Theatre Dance Group of Great Britain to the athletes' village at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo/file

But when Glasgow beckoned, he shifted to Auckland to give himself the best chance, including enrolling at Auckland University, although fiscal constraints meant he opted to enter the building trade while training.


"I chased that dream pretty hard, moving away when I was about 20."

He has two senior national titles to his name — the 64kg one in 2013 and the 69kg in 2016.

Hindley made it as far as the quarterfinals of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after winning his first two bouts. He lost to Junias Jonas, of Namibia, who went on to claim the silver medal.

Jonas had "awesome feet" and looked a lot different from "outside in", Hindley said.

"You now know what to expect and he was a lot better than I thought so I'll just have to do what I do best and that's to box the best I can."

Regarding himself a boxer/puncher, Hindley has the propensity to deck his opponents.

In hindsight, he won't be rushing in against the likes of Jonas after frustration had kicked in at Glasgow and he had found himself too preoccupied in trying to land a killer punch.

"I'm a little bit more experienced now and I'll think about things just that bit more."

He knows the art of boxing transcends the desire of two people trying to hit each other with hands. Ring craft is pivotal so his footwork has been an essential work-on area.

Hindley had found Glasgow quite daunting. It was the most elite ring he had stepped into.

"I guess it all comes down to the individual. It's how you react to a big crowd or whatever it may be but, yeah, I feel like I've experienced that now so it's not going to be an issue at all this time."

That year he won bronze medals at the Bee Gee Invitation in Helsinki, Finland, as well as Serbia.

In 2016 Hindley claimed bronze at the Oceania Championship on the Gold Coast. Last year he clinched bronze at the Oceania Championship in Brisbane, bronze in the Taipei City Cup and gold at the Transtasman Championship.

While mindful the magnitude of the Commonwealth Games dwarfs that of the Oceania event, Hindley finds comfort in familiarity in returning to the Aussie state.

"I didn't think we were going to make the selection as we had only five places available from the NZOC so, I guess, I'm blessed to get another chance to get on the podium this time," he says after three more berths were included.

Hindley didn't leave anything in the tank while training last year but is now determined to work even more harder.

He will "amp things up" in the next few weeks for the games.

"You guys will see me do my thing at the games, that's for sure."

The field is traditionally full of excitement but he knows Englishman Pat McCormack, who fights in the World Series Boxing, and an Irishman will provide stiff challenges.

"I know they are like the top two to watch and there's always a wild-card African country to watch, too, so I'll have to do a bit of research on my opponents."

McCormack, who bowed out in the last 16 of the Rio Olympics, has an equally talented twin brother Luke, in the lightweight division.