19 May, 2024 03:01 AM2 mins to read

Lamont Alofipo of Marist Samoa faces off against Emmett " Honey Badger" Cribb of Gisborne's Patu Tahi Boxing Club. Photo / Connull Lang

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Photo New Zealand Herald

Boxers from across the North Island and visiting from Samoa showcased fights over the weekend at the Hastings Giants Boxing Academy gym.

It was the first time in the 18 months since the Giants moved to Mitre 10 Sports Park that they had hosted an event at the venue according to head coach Craig McDougall, and it won’t be the last.

“We normally run three or four events like this a year. This is the first time since our move out of Hastings Central to be running this tournament and we’ll have more on the cards coming because everyone loves a little bit of amateur boxing.”

About half a dozen Samoan boxers from Marist Boxing Club travelled to New Zealand and spent three days training in Auckland before arriving in Hawke’s Bay on Friday.

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Photo New Zealand Herald

They included a Samoan national youth title holder Darius Poulava and the 2023 Pacific Games silver medallist Saliuafi Tuautu.

McDougall said Australia, Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand worked together to develop coaches and boxers and boxers from New Zealand had visited Samoa before for competition and development.

“We brought Marist Boxing Club from Samoa over in 2018 and a part of that development was the relationship with Samoa we had [built] previously,” McDougall said.

“We thought the best way Oceania could get better was for us to all work together.”

He said this event and others like it were about the development of young people in the sport.

Visiting boxers from Samoa took part in the first event hosted at Hastings Giants Boxing Academy's new venue in Mitre 10 Sports Park. Photo / Connull Lang

NZ boxers from Gisborne, Wairoa, Dannevirke, Rotorua, Tauranga, Napier and Hastings also participated, including North Island Golden Gloves champ 50kg champ Renee Doole and 71kg North Island Golden Gloves champ Harvey Madden.

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Photo New Zealand Herald

“We’ve got some good presence with our local boxers,” McDougall said.

There were sparring and coaching sessions on Friday before the event on Saturday and Sunday evening.

Mike Asuasu Junior Vui from Marist Samoa against Ben Wright from Napier boxing. Photo / Connull Lang

He said there was a “wonderful” community of people in Hawke’s Bay, including among Māori and Pacific Islanders, who loved boxing.

“There are so many gifted and talented [people] and to showcase this kind of sport in front of them is a great pathway for them to find success in themselves.”

The event was sponsored by New Zealand couple Gavin and Lou Brightwell who run the Saletoga Sands Resort and Spa in Samoa.

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