Club spirit . . . Back at training and showing off the ‘Most Scientific Boxer’ award are (from left) Kiasah , 14, Pasoni Taafaki, 16, Francis Taafaki, 14, Isaiah, 12, Taafaki Taafaki, 13, Pisu Tavai, 13, and Maiau Apelu. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

It has been a whirlwind couple of months for the newly formed Taafaki Boxing Club as it continues to punch above its weight.

Operating from the old Hunter School in Waimate, the club only began life earlier this year, but it has been picking up a swag of medals and titles from tournaments across the country.

Club members, including coach Badi Taafaki’s children, attended their first major event in May, and won three gold medals.

As well as attending a Gore tournament in April, they competed at the South Island Golden Gloves Championships this month.

The club also travelled to the Wellington Championships in May but two of their fighters fell ill on arrival.

A failed doctor’s clearance meant that the club’s North Island dreams would be put on hold a little longer.

Three of the club’s boxers attended the Gore tournament and all three left with gold medals.

Lemuel De Barbo defeated a well-drilled Eric Carenno Espinoza from Woolston Boxing Club with a split decision.

Pasoni Taafaki fought an experienced Dominic McRae from NZ Fight Fitness Boxing Club and picked up a unanimous decision win.

Taafaki Taafaki went up against Leon Hodges-Harris from Impact Boxing and won by referee stoppage in the first round. Taafaki Taafaki said he was loving boxing more than ever.

‘‘I didn’t know I could love a sport more than rugby.

‘‘I love boxing, it’s my favourite sport, then rugby. I disliked training, but now I look forward to it. You get what you put in and I leave it all in the ring.’’

Further success was again found at the South Island Golden Gloves Championship, hosted by the Papanui Boxing Club and Riverside Boxing Club in Christchurch. The club entered two fighters in the tournament and once again came away with two gold medals and a prestigious award.

Coach and founder Badi Taafaki said the Golden Gloves tournament had been the biggest test for his fighters so far.

‘‘Our boxers faced experienced, New Zealand national level opponents and their performances were a testament to their hard work and dedication.

‘‘These fights were the most defining moments in their journey.’’

Fighting fit . . . Celebrating their success at the South Island Golden Gloves tournament are (from left) Pasoni Taaaki, 16, Francis Taafaki, 14, Taafaki Taafaki, 13 and Badi Taafaki.

Taafaki Taafaki fought in the 54kg Males Cadet Open and came out with a unanimous win.

He also picked up the Most Scientific Boxer award in the junior division.

Pasoni fought in the 71 kg Males Open Youth and was awarded the win by disqualification in the third round after multiple illegal manoeuvres in and out of the clinch by his opponent.

Mr Taafaki put their recent success down to hard work and belief.

‘‘It all comes from a lot of hard work, we’ve invested a lot of time to get these outcomes.

‘‘We train and we breathe this sport.

‘‘The boys push and push to make sure they get their hand raised.’’

The results achieved at the Golden Gloves tournament will allow the Taafaki boxers to enter the New Zealand nationals, where they could have the opportunity to fight for championship titles.

Mr Taafaki said his goals for the rest of the year were to continue training up-andcoming fighters for the novice champs next March and to work towards bringing the club shield to Waimate.

The club shield is awarded to the club who have won the most bouts over the course of the year.