New Zealand Amateur Boxing Championships back in Whanganui next month

The Whanganui team for 2022 is Rob Cook (coach), Sale Oldehaver, Pheenyx Apiata Cook, Isabella Parks, Chili Palmer, Jim Comp (coach) and Eddie Tofa (head coach). Photo / Supplied

Round two of the New Zealand Amateur Boxing Championships is set to go in Whanganui.

Last year’s event was postponed until April this year due to Covid-19, meaning the 2022 edition is on only six months later.

Whanganui head coach and event organizer Eddie Tofa said there would be a lot more fighters in Whanganui this time around.

“There were 120-odd boxers in April, but now we are looking at 200-plus from 21 associations around the country.

“A lot of people are coming from Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington, and Taumarunui is sending a team of 15 as well.”

The event will again take place at Jubilee Stadium.

“Things are a little bit easier to organize this time around, but there is always a bit of stress,” Tofa said.

“Whanganui hadn’t hosted this for 60-odd years and all of a sudden we’ve got it twice in the space of a few months.

“That will go down in the history books.”

Sale Oldehaver, Pheenyx Apiata Cook, Isabella Parks and Chili Palmer make up the Whanganui team.

Oldehaver, a super heavyweight, was stopped by eventual champion Roma Crichton at the 2021 event.

However, the loss has not slowed him down.

“That was a bit of a wake-up call, I got smashed in the first round,” Oldehaver said.

“You have to take boxing really seriously. You don’t play around with it.

“Good on Roma, though, he is a really good fighter.”

Oldehaver has fought four times in the past 12 weeks, winning all his bouts.

“Another coach [Egelani Taito] jumped on board recently and I really got my fitness up and lost a bit of weight, he said.

“I managed to take out the Wellington champs and Hawke’s Bay champs, and I also made my pro debut over in Palmerston North. I’m in pretty good shape.”

Sale Oldehaver (center) with coaches Rob Cook (left) and Egelani Taito after Oldehaver claimed the Hawke's Bay super heavyweight title this month.  Photo / Supplied
Sale Oldehaver (center) with coaches Rob Cook (left) and Egelani Taito after Oldehaver claimed the Hawke’s Bay super heavyweight title this month. Photo / Supplied

No sparring or fights leading up to the 2021 champs may have cost him, Oldehaver said.

“This time is completely different. I’m in the gym Monday to Friday.

“I’m not sure if I’ll get another crack at Roma, but I would love to. It’s all the luck of the draw.

“You just have to win to carry on.”

Tofa said having Taito on board as a coach at the Rivercity Boxing Gym was huge.

“He has been there and done it so I’m stoked to have him on the team.

“Lani is helping boxers of all ages and he’s even running my school classes if I’m not around.”

Taito was a three-time New Zealand Golden Gloves champion before turning professional.

He challenged for the New Zealand light heavyweight title against John Parker (brother of heavyweight Joseph Parker) in February last year before getting injured in the rematch five months later.

“Everybody thought he won that first fight,” Tofa said.

“In the second one he damaged his elbow and the fight was stopped because of that injury.”

Tofa said he was expecting a lot of supporters to make the trip to Whanganui next month.

“Parents and grandparents love to come and support their kids when it comes to the nationals.

“We are allowed to have lots of people in there [Jubilee Stadium] and the weather is getting warmer. Let’s go.”

The 2022 New Zealand Amateur Boxing Championships are on October 4-8.

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