The Boxing New Zealand National Championships get underway in Hastings tomorrow and will feature a strong contingent of Central North Island athletes.
The return of the championships to Hastings, for the first time since 1993, has attracted 157 entries from throughout New Zealand. Four days of non-stop championship boxing spread over seven sessions will take place at the Hastings Sports Centre, from October 2-5.
The Auckland Boxing Association has the largest contingent attending with 38, followed closely by the Central North Island Boxing Association with 28.
Central Rotorua Boxing Club owner Rex Jenkins has six athletes, with various levels of experience, competing.
Maea Hay (Junior Women) and Naturelle Rangiawha (Cadet Female 52kg) won national titles last year and Naturelle's twin brother Kahu Rangiawha (Cadet Male 46kg) has competed previously as well. Wild Wiseman(Cadet Male 40kg), Graeme Peni (Junior Male 70kg) and Stevie-Ray Rangiawha (Cadet Female) will be competing at nationals for the first time.
"We've got some new kids, competing at nationals for the first time, which is quite exciting but in saying that I maintain that it takes them one year to sort themselves out at national level.
"It will be a good learning experience. Young WIld Wiseman could go quite well I think, he's a good boy and he's just lacking a little bit of experience."
"We've got some new kids, competing at nationals for the first time, which is quite exciting but in saying that I maintain that it takes them one year to sort themselves out at national level."
Jenkins said Maea and Naturelle were a good chance of winning national titles again. Maea won national titles in 2016 and 2017 and retained her title last year as she was unopposed. This year she has competition.
"Naturelle and Maea I think will go pretty well. Kahu's having a bit of an up and down year but I think he has the talent that if he puts it together on the day he'll go well.
"Maea has three girls in her division this year. She and one of the other girls have actually gone up a weight to fight. Maea fought that girl earlier in the year and very nearly stopped her but boxers do improve over a short period. You take no-one cheaply but it will be a good workout."
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Jenkins said it was good for the young boxers to be part of a large Central North Island team.
"There's a lot of camaraderie that goes into it and they learn to get on with other people in a team all doing the same thing. I think it's a great learning curve."
The Elite Male and Elite Female boxers at the event will have extra incentive to perform with berths in the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament, to be held in China in February 2020, potentially up for grabs.
Boxing New Zealand 2019 National Championship Entries
Auckland Boxing Association (38) Bay of Plenty BA (4) Canterbury BA (20) Canterbury Metro BA (2) Central Hawkes Bay BA (4) Central North Island BA (28) East Coast BA (4) Hawkes Bay BA (5) Kirikiriroa BA (2) Manawatu BA (12) Masterton BA (1) Otago BA (3) Shamrock BA (10) South Auckland BA (4) Southland (1) Taranaki BA (6) Waikato BA (1) Wellington/Hutt Valley (12).
Central North Island Boxing Association entries at nationals
Tawhiri Toheriri M 69kg
River Royal M 81kg
Jayden Ball M 91kg
Apelu Togia M +91kg
Youth (17/18 Years of Age):
Leonie Rosin YF 60kg
Tui Te Wiki YM
Zavier Thompson YM 64kg
Tyson Peterson YM 75kg
Junior (15/16 Years of Age):
Mya Kahukoti Rawiri W
Maea Hay JW
Zephaniha Vaotu'a JM 60kg
Alhrji Sheriff JM 66kg
Graeme Peni JM 70kg
Cadet (13/14 Years of Age:
Stevie-Ray Rangiawha W
Pheline Rosin W
Nikah Perez W
Naturelle Rangiawha CF 52kg
Unique Kahukoti CF 70kg
Nehani Lelo M
Connor Campbell CM 38kg
Jimmy Tapsell CM 40kg
Wild Wiseman CM 40kg
Kahu Rangiawha CM 46kg
Genesis Seuli CM 48kg
Dayton Kawau CN 50kg
Te Kotahitangi Te Tawhero CM 52kg
Owen CM 60kg
Maikara Tahere CM 63kg