Plans are afoot to hold monthly boxing events in Rotorua - a move local trainers say would be a huge boost for the sport in the region.
RotoVegas Boxing Gym hosted the Central North Island boxing tournament yesterday, with 26 bouts held in front of a packed gym of about 300 spectators.
RotoVegas head trainer and owner Aaron Warren said visiting fighters and trainers from around New Zealand had been so impressed with the event's organisation, the venue and atmosphere, they were keen to come back.
"We're talking about having a tournament once a month at our gym."
He said it would mean local fighters could get top-quality fights under their belts without having to travel.
Rotorua Central Boxing Club owner Rex Jenkins is working with Warren and Warren's wife Tanya to get the monthly events up and running.
"It's a damn good idea," Jenkins said.
He said any rivalry between the two Rotorua gyms was behind them and they were committed to working together for the benefit of youngsters in the sport.
He said it would mean "a hell of a lot" to local fighters - from 10-year-olds through to seniors - to have regular tournaments in Rotorua.
Saturday's tournament was a success for Jenkins' gym, with three wins from three in the competitive grades. A further three fighters took part in exhibition fights.
Elite boxer Emile Richardson, 19, who had a good win over a Tauranga opponent, is being touted by Jenkins as a potential future national champion.
Richardson began working with Jenkins just this year, having previously boxed out of Tokoroa/Taupo.
"He's had four fights since he's been with me and won three. He lost the other on a split decision in Australia."
Jenkins said he had high hopes for his young fighter.
"If he sticks with us for another 12 months we could look at him being a national champion. It's just how much does he want it?"
Maea Hay, 10, also won her fight and with it the Bill Woods Memorial Trophy - which Jenkins puts on the line for one of the club's fighters about once a year.
Named in honour of a good friend of his who died in a car crash, it's a significant trophy for the gym's members who have to earn the right to challenge for it.
Highlights for RotoVegas fighters included Joseph O'Leary who impressed with a technical knockout victory in the second round of his fight.
Warren said while a lot of his boxers were "up against it" when it came to age and weight all did well and importantly all came through uninjured.
The two big fights of the night saw South Auckland's Patrick Maalaka beat Canterbury's Sam Watt to claim the New Zealand superheavyweight No 1 ranking, while Wellington middleweight Ryan Scaife's victory meant he qualified for an Oceania Championship and Commonwealth Games spot.