Former Hawke's Bay Tui women's rugby representative Stacey Loye is eyeing a career as a professional boxer.
A hard-nosed lock/loosie during the 2012 and '13 seasons with the Tui and the 2014 and '15 seasons with the Manawatu Cyclones, Loye, 23, always impressed on the field with her controlled and intelligent use of aggression. This attribute alone will take her far as a boxer.
Loye, who is unbeaten in two corporate fights to date, will get an indication of whether or not she is ready to turn professional when she takes on Manawatu's Sarah Buchanan in her third corporate bout at tomorrow night's CKNZ Charity Fight Night hosted by her home gym, The Lab Training Centre in Napier.
"I'm not sure whether I will have a stint as an amateur first or go straight into the professional ranks. Pat knows me and I trust him to take me along the best possible path," Loye said, referring to trainer Patrick O'Brien.
The fight will be one of 11 scheduled for three two-minute rounds. Loye has seen southpaw Buchanan in action and knows what to expect.
"Sarah will bring everything. I watched in her loss to Lisa Ward of our gym last year," Loye said.
During her rugby career which also included two consecutive Hawke's Bay secondary schoolgirls titles with the Napier Girls' High School first XV in 2012 and '13, Loye, was up with the best when it came to fitness and endurance levels. She has a similar approach with her boxing and trains up to two hours a day six days a week.
Chasing sheep and cattle while working as a farmer on her family's Te Pohue farm complements her training and so does her other day job, a Youthtown sports coach which sees her working with youngsters of all ages.
"I always try to be at the top of my game when it comes to fitness and endurance. It's all part of my aim to grow inside and outside of the ring," Loye said.
She ranked Ward and another of tomorrow night's host gym fighters, Regan Kalimansci, as her boxing heroes.
Although she has sacrificed rugby to pursue her boxing career Loye still has time to run her team of three showjumping horses, a sport she has been involved with since her intermediate school days. No doubt the balance and co-ordination from her equestrian pursuits come in handy when she boxes.
As a rugby player, Loye always led by example when handed the captaincy. Talk was always limited and it's the same with her boxing.
"I prefer to let the ring do the talking," Loye said before another training session beckoned yesterday.
O'Brien sees plenty of boxing potential in Loye.
"I heard about her reputation as a rugby player. It's no different when she steps into the boxing ring. She goes hard, hits hard and turns into a beast," O'Brien said.
He believed Loye will be ready to take on fellow Bay boxer Osana Leutele in the near future. Leutele is a sister of Hawke's Bay professional heavyweight Toa Leutele and is also unbeaten in corporate fights.
Tomorrow night's feature bout will see Kalimansci take on Paraire King from The Fight Shop, Palmerston North. Kalimansci has won his last three fights and was The Lab's 2018 fighter of the year.
While King is Palmerston North-based these days he is from the Bay originally and played Ross Shield rugby for Wairoa in 2005. He will have plenty of family support.
The event is a fundraiser for the Anahera O Te Rangi Charitable Trust which was formed to help make a difference within Hawke's Bay. Funds raised are invested back into the community to support and nurture positive social and holistic health outcomes for Hawke's Bay people.
Anyone wanting to donate to the trust can do so through the following link:
Blue Corner Red Corner
Tyssen Whareaitu (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Jason Albert (Bamz Boxing Dannevirke) 100kg
Wiremu Brown (Team Taniwha, Turangi) v Storm Delamere (The Lab Training Centre) 71kg
Joseph King (Leutele Boxing, Napier) v Harry Bird (The Lab Training Centre) 100kg-plus
Justice Clarke (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Dan Billing (Bamz Boxing Dannevirke) 90kg
Jimmy Ryan (Wellington Boxing) v Luke Kavanagh (The Lab Training Centre) 81kg
Zac Rowe (Undisputed MMA, Masterton) v Oliver Larbi (The Lab Training Centre) 85kg
Dion Greig (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Cuirser Robinson (The Lab Training Centre) 95kg
Quentin Cunningham (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v George Murray (Undisputed MMA, Masterton) 100kg-plus
Shay Barber (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Faamasino Aiolupotea (The Lab Training Centre) 82kg
Sarah Buchanan (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Stacey Loye (The Lab Training Centre) 73kg
Paraire King (The Fight Shop, Palmerston North) v Regan Kalimansci (The Lab Training Centre) 84kg