Marton-based boxer Onyx Lye will be heading to Birmingham next month after being selected in the New Zealand team for the Commonwealth Games.
Lye, who competes in the light-heavyweight (75-81kg) division, took out the New Zealand amateur title in Whanganui in April.
He said he knew he was in the running for a spot for a while, but actually getting the nod was a great feeling.
"Once it was announced that there would be a bigger team than the last Commonwealth Games, I was blown away and super happy because I didn't want to be the one to take a spot from my fellow team-mates," Lye said.
"The past week or so (since selection) has been pretty amazing. People have been calling me up and stopping me on the street to congratulate me."
Lye, 20, said he always trained hard but would go even harder leading up to the games.
He has already taken out Manawatū, Auckland and Central North Island regional championships, as well as being a Tongan, Western Australian, Queensland Golden Gloves, New Zealand Golden Gloves and Anzac super series champion.
"I haven't really seen many people in those top-level stages of the Commonwealth scene, so I'm sort of going in blind but hoping for the best."
Good sparring partners were sometimes hard to get hold of.
"When it's available, I'm always in there," Lye said.
"Finding people who are a good level for me is quite difficult. Other than that, most people who I do ask for sparring turn it down.
"That's a bit sad because it leaves me with no ring time and it doesn't give them the experience to level themselves up."
He is also the head coach at the Forge gym in Marton.
"That's volunteer work pretty much, just helping the kids get some skills and discipline behind them.
"There is a fair few coming through the gym every week. We've got a consistent group of kids who are always there."
Lye listed some of the greats from days gone by as his favourite fighters.
"I don't tend to watch modern-day fighters all that much.
"It's those old school fighters like Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Joe Frazier, then on to the Mike Tyson era with Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe."
He said his next goal would be to get to the Olympic Games, followed by a crack in the professional ranks.
"If not the light heavies, then I'll try for cruiserweight.
"My body is still developing as I get older so I'm just going to see where I end up and where I feel comfortable."