The Kaeo Boxing Club added three titles to their trophy cabinet after all three fighters representing the Far North gym at the North Island Novice Boxing Championships in Rotorua won their divisions.

The tournament for novice fighters, who have had fewer than 10 contests, included 44 bouts on the day's card and featured the best up-and-coming boxers from Wellington to the Far North.

Kaeo Boxing Club coach Rusty Porter, who was in his usual spot in the corner for all three of his boxers during last weekend's tournament, said the first title was secured by Kyle Chen, of Kerikeri (age 13, weight 62kg) who took on Xavier Hirinni (14) of Hamilton.

It was the second time the two had fought and while each was familiar with the other's moves, Chen retained his composure and eventually won by unanimous decision, becoming a North Island novice champion in the process.


The first fighter to climb into the ring for Kaeo at the event, however, was Liam Davis, of Ohaeawai (15, 70kg). With three boxers in his division, he was matched up against Shannon Kara (15, 70kg), of Hamilton.

Porter noted Davis was, as expected, nervous, because it was his first time in the competition ring. "I had to keep telling him to keep focused and composed and he boxed very well, winning by majority decision," Porter said.

Davis later had his second fight - for the title - against Hemi Timoko (15, 70kg), of Rotorua. Still amping from his first fight, Davis put two eight-counts on Timoko in the second round before eventually winning by TKO, to claim the North Island 70kg junior novice title.

Finally, at 11.30pm, Jono Wilks (23, 74kg), of Kerikeri, proved too fast and strong for Tyler Karaynidis, of Hawke's Bay Boxing, in the elite (over 18 years) division, winning in round two by TKO, the Far North boxer taking the 74kg elite division title for the North Island novice champs.

Also there to support his colleagues was the experienced, as in, no longer a novice fighter, Blake Hodges and he was surprised to be offered a fight for the Bill Woods Memorial trophy, a new challenge event put up by the hosts for Kaeo and Rotorua boxers.

Hodges (16, 70kg), of Kerikeri, accepted and fought the heavier Jim Walsh (75kg), of Rotorua, for the trophy which honours the old Kaeo boxing trainer. Walsh won by unanimous decision.