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Waitaki warriors . . . Oamaru boxing trainer Joe Cropley with boxers Carn Parata (left), Troy Black, Zac Schofield (14) and Zac Quirke (17). PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Trainer Joe Cropley believes this year could be a big one for the Oamaru Boxing Club.

The club, based in Eden St, has a core group of four registered boxers, about eight in total, one female boxer and a group of women who train there for fitness or with the aim of becoming involved in the sport.

Cropley said after a “quiet patch” in recent times, 2017 was a rebuilding year for the club with several boxers having left.

“We’ve had to go through the process of establishing a team, because a lot of of experienced boxers have moved overseas. But things are now starting to pick up, which is fantastic.”

Despite not having many active fighters on his books, Cropley believed Oamaru had some promising boxing talent.

Carn Parata, also a handy rugby player, picked up a points decision win in his debut bout on a Canterbury metro card at the Woolston Working Men’s Club in the first weekend of April.

“It was good for him and it’s good to be back on the tournament scene,” Cropley said.

Another promising talent is newly registered Zac Schofield (14), whom Cropley believed had the talent to go a long way in boxing.

“He is the first junior to come out of our club so far, which is awesome. He’s been training pretty hard and he’s very dedicated to the sport, which is great to see in a young fellow.”

Cropley, who holds a level one coaching certificate, expected Zac would make his in-ring debut in June.

He hoped to taken his fighters to “three or four” tournaments this year.

When he wasn’t training fighters, he took great pleasure in helping a group of women get fit, gain confidence, and work on their boxing technique as part of an eight-week programme.

Cropley said the sport’s future was bright locally and that he would continue to train boxers, even if numbers dropped.