Tournament goes well for local athletes

Dominant display . . . William Crooks has his hand raised by referee Jarrod Ngatai after a first-round stoppage victory over his opponent Aden Sinclair. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

A dominant debut and a third win on the trot has capped off a successful tournament for the Timaru Boxing Club.

Competing at the South Island Novice Champs in Christchurch, young boxers William Crooks, 13, and Lachlan O’Neill, 16, returned home to Timaru with wins in the club’s first outing for the year.

After training for two years and with the help of a couple of extra gingernuts, Crooks stepped up in weight to take on Picton’s Aden Sinclair for his cadet debut fight.

Crooks said although initially nervous, he built up a lot of confidence through his training.

‘‘Six weeks before I was feeling really nervous but at the same time after two years of training it was just like, ‘finally it’s coming’.

‘‘Sitting on the seats before you step up into the ring was pretty nerve-racking and when the bell rings you just have no idea what it is going to be like.

‘‘You don’t know what he is thinking or how he will fight.

‘‘Once I hit him twice, I just knew it was going to end early.’’

Crooks would be correct in his prediction, scoring a firstround stoppage victory.

He said the sport had been a really positive influence on his life so far.

‘‘Boxing has really helped with my social anxiety because at school I was quite quiet but boxing has really helped with my confidence.’’

It was another strong showing from Lachlan O’Neill as well, as he extended his unbeaten record to 3-0, cruising to a unanimous decision win over his Mid-Canterbury opponent, Blake Morresey .

O’Neill said he was very happy with his most recent outing.

Power punch . . . Lachlan O’Neill (red) throws a strong straight punch on his way to unanimous decision victory over Blake Morresey.

‘‘I was quite nervous before the fight but that’s normal. I was happy with how the fight itself went, I think I performed way better than my other fights.

‘‘In the first round I thought I landed a couple of good punches because I heard the people in the audience sort of go ‘ooooh’. So, because of that sort of stuff I felt pretty confident I had won.’’

Timaru Boxing coach Hannah Guthrie said she was proud of how the two young boxers were progressing.

‘‘I’ve been with both of them for all of their boxing journey, we had other coaches of course with them at the beginning, shaping them, but it was cool to be the one who got into the ring with them for the first time.

‘‘We’re all learning together, it’s been a good team effort.

‘‘We’re all pretty new so it’s been great results considering how novice we all are.’’

She said there were plenty of opportunities for more fights this year.

‘‘They’ve had one fight now this year so they’re ready to go for anything.

‘‘Hopefully we’ll get a few more under the belt and get Lachie to nationals this year and William nationals next year.

‘‘They’re going to have the Golden Gloves, the Canterbury Champs, our Timaru Tournament in September and all the club tournaments so I’ll be entering them in those, as well.’’

Team effort . . . Coming together to celebrate their tournament successes are (from left) Lachlan O’Neill, Hannah Guthrie and William Crooks.

Next on the cards is the Golden Gloves tournament in June.

Both have entered and are hoping to find match-ups soon after missing out on potential bouts in Gore due to being unable to find an opponent.