Suggest a possible ultimate farewell from the fighting scene for Hawke's Bay boxer Derrick Tuakeu and he nods his head in agreement.
"Winning a national title on home turf would be the ideal swansong," Tuakeu said referring to the October 1-5 national championships to be staged at the Hastings Sports Centre.
"I'm coming towards the twilight of my career. I would like to finish with as many titles as I can but after this year or next year it will be time to take care of my health and look at other sports," Tuakeu explained.
The 30-year-old Napier Boxing Club senior light heavyweight has been fighting for 10 years and boasts a record of 16 wins and five losses since leaving the corporate boxing scene. Tuakeu hopes to add to his wins column when the Hawke's Bay championships are held at the Flaxmere Boxing Centre on August 3.
These championships will be hosted by the Hawke's Bay Boxing Association which has been rejuvenated after more than 20 years in recess and the champs are being staged to celebrate the rejuvenation.
Association chairman and long-serving Napier club coach Rod Langdon expects more than 40 bouts to be staged and he is hoping New Zealand middleweight champion Ryan Scaife, who competed at the Commonwealth Games last year, will fight.
"I'm willing to fight anyone who wants to come through for the champs," engineering apprentice Tuakeu said.
"My training schedule has been a bit light in recent weeks as I've been trying to mend an elbow injury but I will be ready. It will be awesome for us local boxers to have a tournament on home turf."
Tuakeu pointed out the injury hindered him in both of his losses to Auckland-based national champion Jerome Pampellione at last month's North Island Golden Gloves tournament in Taupo. He lost the first fight by a split decision and the second when the referee stopped the bout towards the end of the third round.
"I'm keen to rectify those results in the near future," Tuakeu added.
Hastings Giants fighter Kal Walker welcomed the return of the Hawke's Bay championships.
"From what I hear it's the first time they will be held for a long time and it's good to see boxing starting to pick up again here in the Bay."
The 21-year-old middleweight 75kg division fighter has been boxing for four years and is trained by Craig McDougall. He ranked fighting at the Last Man Standing Show in Samoa earlier this year as the highlight of his career to date.
The show was staged as a buildup event to the Pacific Championships and Walker recorded a win and a loss. He is looking forward to the tournament format the Hawke's Bay championships will use.
"I don't know if I'll be fighting at the nationals because I'm coming towards the end of my apprenticeship and this is a pretty big year for me with that but competing at national champs levels is definitely a goal for the future," added the Bay Electricians apprentice.
Flaxmere club's light heavyweight fighter Ben Harrington, 30, will make his debut at the Hawke's Bay champs.
"I've just completed my first year of training. I was hoping to do a corporate bout before fighting at this level but my trainer [Henare O'Keefe] told me to give the champs a crack so I will. I'm really enjoying the training," the Flaxmere College teacher said.
"The champs will help me decide whether boxing becomes a bucket list thing or my new hobby," Harrington said.
A former mountainbiker who still plays social touch, Harrington manages to fit three training sessions a week in around his work commitments.
Napier Boxing Club's middleweight fighter Paul Tonga, 19, has been fighting for 18 months and has had three losses.
"I've put in some work since those bouts and I should be ready for some rewards and treats at the champs," Tonga said.
The William Colenso College old boy, who is an apprentice builder, is in boxing for the long haul.