Four years ago Ryan Scaife jotted down a few key points in his notebook on where he would like to see his amateur boxing career to be and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was among them.

"I've always thought about making the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games because my dad had a long career and my granddad went to the Commonwealth Games when it was called the Empire Games," says the 20-year-old from Upper Hutt of Grant and Alan Scaife, respectively.

The 75kg middleweight fighter jets off with seven other Kiwi pugilists to the Gold Coast next month for his maiden games.

Scaife was at the Craig McDougall-run Hastings Giants Boxing Academy where he sparred with homeboy Saili Fiso as well as Chris Wellnitz, 23, of Auckland, of the Cameron Todd Boxing Club, three weekends ago.


"I've been training with Saili since he started out so it's been cool watching him progress and now he gives me some of the best sparring I can get," says the Taipei City Cup gold medallist, relishing the mutually beneficial exercise on the way to bigger things.

The Commonwealth Games representatives jetted off to Canberra yesterday and return on March 26 before booking their flights to the Gold Coast on April 1.

Scaife, the 2017 Transtasman Championship gold medallist, fights out of the Heretaunga Boxing Club.

The demolition worker is an orthodox fighter who appreciates the traditional values of ringcraft, embracing discipline when it comes to form.

"I like using my jabs and putting pressure on my opponents so I'm in pretty good shape. I'm a boxer but I can turn it up when I need to turn it up."

He still trains in the ring his grandfather built and where he hosted the late Muhammad Ali in the late 1970s. Alan competed at the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, finishing fourth.

That pedigree has been evident in Ryan Scaife's footprints as he collected eight national titles in myriad weights from the age of 13.

His brother, Harry, 26, of Wellington, is a former national champion.


"We were always given the choice in the family to do boxing and I just loved it," says Scaife.

Growing up as a youngster he found he was ultra-competitive but, more noticeably, he abhorred losing.

"I put that into my training now and it drives me even harder, I guess."

Needless to say, Scaife isn't just going to the Gold Coast to make up numbers.

"I'm going there to win, to bring back something for everyone who support me and stuff."

He stresses boxing is a code where exponents have to continuously improve.

"You can't have a bad fight and say, 'Oh, I wasn't feeling too good today'. You've got to be on your game every time."

Scaife doesn't let the occasion get to him. It's simply him, the opponent and the referee.

He doesn't focus too much on who he's likely to face but is aware of some of them in his grade.

That includes Ben Whittaker, a former Youth Games champion, an Indian boxer and Western Australian Campbell Somerville, who he beat for the Oceania gold medal on the Gold Coast last year on a split decision before beating Henry Tyrell, of Samoa, in the final.

"It's hard to beat an Australian in Australia but if you make it clear enough there's no sort of doubt, you know."

He competed at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa two years ago.

"I think all the international competitions are quite a big step up when you leave New Zealand so I'm kind of being overwhelmed by them. I'm looking forward to going out there to do the best I can."

Scaife says boxing is a demanding sport so athletes have their share of niggles but they become accustomed to having the odd hiccup. It helps to have a great support crew.

"I've been spraining my right thumb a little bit with over-usage issues but it's all good."

Wellnitz, who had travelled 5.5 hours for the "best sparring" session here, didn't need a second invite from national assistant coach McDougall.

"They are looking sharp and their build-up is slick in sparring so they should do well," he says of Scaife and Leroy Hindley, also of Wellington.