In his younger days Jimmy Pentland regularly got the bash from his two older sisters.

"You know how it is when you're the third oldest in a family of four boys and three girls. It prepared me well for this kickboxing gig," Pentland said last night.

The 18-year-old year 13 student will be one of three Tamatea High School fighters on the card at the Combat Kings New Zealand event at The Lab Training Centre in Onekawa on June 30.

A middleweight (85kg) exponent, Pentland, will take on Rotorua's Billy Dean Raina in a bout scheduled for three two minute rounds.


"I know nothing about Billy but I've been training hard and I'm aiming for my second win in a three-fight career," Pentland said.

He took up kickboxing 18 months ago.

"Pat [The Lab's owner and trainer O'Brien] told me I had some talent. I wanted to try something new, challenge myself physically and mentally and become a better me," Pentland recalled.

"Pat and I just don't focus on my kickboxing. Pat helps me with discipline, fitness, my level three studies and getting my driver's licence ... it's the whole package."

Before transferring to Tamatea High School at the end of year 11, rugby was his main sport. He played for the Napier Boys' High School under-15 and under-16 teams.

However, kickboxing takes up all of his spare time these days.

"I train up to 2-1/2 hours each day for five to six days each week. I want to go as far as I can and, hopefully, crack the Glory Kickboxing scene," Pentland said referring to the world's premier kickboxing league.

"Kickboxing got my confidence out there. I was pretty shy before I took it up," he added.

A former Hawks basketballer who won the under-90kg 18-35 years division at the Unified World Championships in Italy last year, O'Brien, has high hopes for Pentland and fellow Tamatea High School students, Eruera Mataiha and Karl Hodgetts and labelled them "young guns on the rise."

Mataiha will take on Xavier Lewer from The Fight Shop in Palmerston North and Hodgetts will take on another from The Lab, Kelvin Jones.

The feature fight will see Far North mother of eight Suzanne Tibble take on Waikato's Rene Roberts for a national title. Tibble captured a bag of gold medals in Europe last year.

Her husband and training partner Tahuri Tibble has won world championship and South Pacific titles in the past while her brother, Auckland-based Shane "The Chopper" Chapman also boasts considerable experience on the national scene.

Roberts is no stranger to championship bouts and will arrive in Napier full of confidence.

The event is a fundraiser to help promising Hawke's Bay fighters to attend what O'Brien described as a "once in a lifetime experience in Bali."

Those fighters will be products of The Lab Training Centre's Combat Academy which has been set up to provide youth development opportunities.

"The purpose of the academy is to use our youth's passion for combat sports to engage, develop and inspire them to pursue a positive, healthy and productive lifestyle," O'Brien said.

"Not only do we focus on sport, we look to develop leadership, education and employment opportunities," O'Brien added.

■ Doors will open at 3.30pm and the first fight will start at 4pm. Pre-sales tickets are $25 and door sales $35. VIP tickets, which include food and drink, are $45.

The June 30 card (subject to change) is:
Suzanne Tibble (Team Taniwha) v Rene Roberts (Rhino Fight Shop); Regan Kalmansci (The Lab) v Pariare Kearns (Rhino Fight Shop); Maka Fonua-Latu (The Lab) v Isaac Kingsford-Tinling (Waihi Martial Arts); Damian Phlapp (Taiao Kickboxing) v Charles Te Tomo (Rhino Fight Shop); Jimmy Pentland (The Lab) v Billy Dean Raina (Manawa Muay Thai); Nathaniel Hastelow (The Fight Shop) v Charlie Te Tomo (Rhino Fight Shop); Ryan Van Zonneveld (The Lab) v Coner O'Sullivan (Team Taniwha); Zayde Liefting (Taiao Kickboxing) v Hoani Winiata (The Fight Shop); Eruera Mataiha (The Lab) v Xavier Lewer (The Fight Shop); Hayden Barnard (Waihi Martial Arts) v Eru Leef (Manawa Muay Thai); Summer Evans (The Lab) v Finlay Henry (The Lab); Taylor England (The Lab) v Mathew Benedito (The Lab); Karl Hodgetts (The Lab) v Kelvin Jones (The Lab); Charlie McPherson (The Lab) v Jono McInnes (The Lab).