Wins close out season for club

Big winners . . . Celebrating a good first outing for the club is boxer William Crooks, 13, and Timaru Boxing Club coaches (from left) Hayden Briggs, Hannah Guthrie and Badi Taafaki. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Timaru Boxing Club has signed off the year in style with several impressive wins in the Rangatahi Toa: The New Generation of Warriors tournament, and their annual prizegiving.

Boxers William Crooks, Lachlan O’Neill, Taafaki Taafaki, and debutant Francis Taafaki all put in performances to be proud of in Christchurch as they took part in the club’s final outing for 2023.

Run by Papuni Boxing Ōtautahi, the day was split in two, with a competitive sparring session in the afternoon for beginner fighters and the amateur competitive fights later.

William had his first official outing for the club when he took part in the competitive sparring.

Timaru Boxing Club coach Hannah Guthrie said the young fighter showed some great composure.

‘‘It was a calm setting, it was quite quiet which was good, and he just really executed everything he had learned.

‘‘He performed like a proper amateur boxer, so we consider that a success for him.

‘‘Obviously it wasn’t a win or a loss, but he did really well.’’

Taafaki Taafaki went first for the club in the amateur boxing section.

He took on Dixon’s Boxing Club cadet Elias Neighbours in a three-round bout. In a close fight that could have gone either way, Taafaki lost via a split decision.

Up next was debutant Francis who went up against junior novice Oceane Lafituanai from Papuni Boxing.

Francis went on to win by abandonment as the opposing corner threw in the towel against what Guthrie called a ‘‘dominant performance’’.

Fighting fit . . . Showing off their end-of-year prizegiving awards are (from left) Francis Taafaki, 13, Taafaki Taafaki, 12, William Crooks, 13, Pasoni Taafaki, 16, Lachlan O’Neill, 16, Dallys O’Neill, Brent Birchfield, Shannon Drake, Hayden Briggs, Hannah Guthrie and Badi Taafaki.

Full of confidence after a debut win, Lachlan again battled a bloody nose, going 2-0 after defeating Riverside Club junior novice Jaeger Pryce in a split decision.

Guthrie said the bout was non-stop action.

‘‘Lachlan came out hard and fast. He just kept going and dug even deeper than we even thought he could to get the win again.’’

She said overall it was a good day out for the club.

‘‘Even though Taafaki lost via split decision, it was extremely close and everyone did really well.

‘‘We have a predominantly younger group of boxers now.’’

It was good to see those on debut ‘‘come in and perform well and show potential for the future’’.

The club also held its end-ofyear prizegiving awards in which Shannon Drake was named keenest trainer, William most improved boxer and Francis most promising.

Best all-rounder went to Pasoni Taafaki, best improver (over all grades) at this year’s South Island Golden Gloves was won by Taafaki Taafaki, best performance went to Lachlan and the contribution to Timaru Boxing Association award was given to Dallys O’Neill.

The gym will now be closed until mid-January, when boxers will come back to prepare for the South Island Novice Championships in March.