Two Bay of Plenty boxers helped a New Zealand team to victory in Adelaide at the weekend.
Tauranga fighter Ariane Nicholson and Rotorua's Emile Richardson won their respective categories as the New Zealand Raptors, led by two-time Commonwealth champion David Nyika, edged the South Australian Scorpions by one point at the three-day Super Eight competition.
Nicholson, a member of the Tauranga Boxing Gym, fought in the 76kg female section, a weight class up from where she would normally fight. After late withdrawals, she had three bouts against South Australian fighter Laura Wright. Nicholson won all three in points decision results.
The 36-year-old hairdresser began her boxing journey five years again, when she took it up to get fit. Soon after she fought in a corporate event and hasn't looked back. She has competed in two Golden Gloves competitions, securing silver and gold, and two nationals as part of the Bay of Plenty team, placing third and second and also won a gold medal at the Arafura Games in Australia earlier this year.
Her success across the Tasman continued on Sunday and Nicholson says it was good to get more fights under her belt.
"Any ring time is always good, any time in the ring you always grow from that. There is lots of training involved, and extra strength and conditioning. I want to get as many fights as I can, I am still a baby in the grand scheme of things. And a lot of it also focusing on the training and preparation leading into a fight."
Nicholson says she has plenty of hard work ahead to progress her career.
"The majority of people in the am circuit are a lot younger. To my advantage I have maturity on my side and to a point you can process things a little bit differently. If you can't control those nerves it can be quite draining."
Nicholson's coach Chris Walker says they have developed an easy and simple style which they hope will take her to a national title and Olympic selection.
"She is very aggressive and puts a lot of pressure on her opponent, but it is controlled, smart pressure."
Walker says the format for the Adelaide event was to get more exposure for the fighters.
"That format is designed to get regular competition, especially in the Oceania region. It puts them in better stead when they step up another gear against opponents outside of Oceania. It was a good opportunity to get ready for the national championships in October and she is also on the long-list for the Olympics."
Nicholson's first box to tick is winning a New Zealand title at the national championships in October.
"She has another fight next week in Auckland," Walker says. "It is another good warm-up fight and she is getting better every time, she is a good trainer and she listens. It is a tough sport and you have to be dedicated, she is training eight or nine times a week."
Rotorua's Richardson beat hometown fighter Jordan Richards on day one and picked up another points-decision victory on day two when he beat Queensland fighter Luca Fiori.
He was beaten in a split decision by New South Wales boxer Kirra Rushton on the final day but did enough to earn the Super Eight 76kg male title. Nyika won the 92kg title while fellow New Zealand fighter Jerome Pampellone claimed the 82kg crown.
Boxing South Australia congratulated the New Zealand Raptors on its Facebook page on winning the team trophy and said they had a very professional attitude and that Boxing South Australia had a lot of respect for the team and the way that they conducted business.
Super Eight Adelaide Champions:
Female 76kg : Ariane Nicholson
Male 76kg: Emile Richardson
Male 82kg: Jerome Pampellone
Male 92kg : David Nyika
Super Eight Adelaide Points Table:
New Zealand Raptors 43, South Australia Scorpions 42, New South Wales Patriots 38, Queensland Cyclones 30.