Kyle Chen won his second national title at the 2015 national boxing championships in Invercargill last Friday evening.
In the last bout of the evening in the cadet and junior finals at ILT Stadium Southland, Chen claimed the junior men's 70kg division title with a win over Daysharn Faatili from Canterbury. Afterwards, the 14-year-old admitted Faatili made him work hard for the title, particularly after being caught with a massive right-hand. Representing North Harbour at the event, Chen showed his resilience by surviving the standing 8-count then going on to win by unanimous decision.
"It was a great fight. Got caught with a few good shots but I was able to keep calm and land the more accurate punches," Chen said.
Also very impressed with Chen's form was Keith Walker, official supervisor of the Invercargill nationals which ran from October 7-10. Walker, also a former Boxing NZ president and life member, AIBA honorary vice president, spoke of the Far North teenager's ability to absorb pressure and then turn the tables on his opponent.
"He was superb ... by far the best boxer at the tournament in my eyes," said Walker, widely regarded as one of New Zealand's most qualified referees and judges.
"His experience from the world champs was evident more so than any of the other boxers that went ... If Boxing NZ do not follow his performances up they want their heads seen to."
The result means Chen now has his name etched twice on the 103-year-old Roll of Champions. He is also a two-times Golden Gloves supremo, and the youngest boxer ever to have officially represented New Zealand at an international event, the AIBA Junior World Boxing Champs in St Petersburg last month.
The Kerikeri High School Year 10 student thanked all those who had supported him throughout his nationals campaign including coach Harry Otty, mentor Fili Maka, along with his family, before concluding with what has become something of a catchcry.
"It's been a great year for me but this is just the beginning."