The Waitaki Warriors Oamaru Boxing Club performed really well at the South Island Novice Boxing Champs in Christchurch at the weekend.
The tournament was held in Woolston, and featured four boxers from the Oamaru Boxing Club – Rhys Guscott, Chontelle Watson, Haimona Huria and Tain Cropley.
Boxing coach Joe Cropley was incredibly happy with his crew.
“The fighters from Oamaru did an amazing job. We came away with two titles and two runner-ups, which is a fantastic result for us.”
The day started well for the Waitaki club, with Huria and Watson advancing straight through to the finals of their respected divisions after they received byes.
Cropley and Guscott also had straight finals in their divisions. Tain Cropley was the first to fight in the elite under-64kg final against Ti-Chieh Wang from Fight Science.
He won by TKO in the third round and surprised everyone – including Cropley with his change of fighting style.
“He was focused and determined to win using controlled aggression, speed, combos and power. He looked really good and deserved the win.
“I was impressed by his opponent’s heart, as he just kept on coming, which is hard to do when on the back foot. Tain did extremely well and it was the best performance I have seen out of all his fights.”
Watson was next up and although she was unable to register a win against her opponent, Cropley was incredibly proud of her.
“Chontelle competed in the elite under-69kg final against Emily Marriot from Team Lopez, she did an amazing job in her first amateur bout against an opponent that was very good and had more experience in the ring.
“Chontelle held her own and was unlucky to not come away with the win. I was very happy with her performance. She landed some great shots and stayed composed throughout. Her determination and drive certainly showed through the entire match,” Cropley said.
Rhys Guscott competed in the elite under-75kg final versus Morgan Wynnes of Lacey’s Boxing – a club in Perth, Australia, and lost by split decision in what was his last bout for the club.
Huria fought in the elite under-81kg light heavyweight final against Harry Jenkins, of Whakatu Boxing in Nelson. Haimona won the title via unanimous decision.
Cropley said Huria was outstanding in his bout.
To cap off the tournament in fine style, Huria was awarded a trophy for best boxer at the tournament.
“For him to win this award with so many talented fighters from some of the best clubs in the country was truly amazing,” he said.
“He has shown that other coaches and fighters recognise his skills and abilities as a boxer with a great future,” Cropley said.
He credits the success of the boxers to the support from the town and to the people who have helped out when they could.
“Thank you to all those who have supported us with their time and kind words of support.”
The focus now shifts to April 11 in Christchurch where Huria, Watson and Zac Korkou will be competing.
By Brayden Lindsay
PHOTO: SUPPLIED – The Waitaki Warriors won two golds and two silvers at the South Island Novice Boxing Champs in Woolston at the weekend. The warriors from left, Rhys Guscott, Chontelle Watson, Haimona Huria (who won best boxer), coach Joe Cropley and Tain Cropley after their tournament in Christchurch.