A record 210 New Zealand amateur boxers, have entered the 2011 Boxing New Zealand National Championships, to be held at the Lower Hutt Town Hall 26th to 29th October 2011.
The National tournament entries are certainly the largest in the 109 year history of Boxing New Zealand. Tournament co-ordinator Jack Plowman said, “ It will be a great event with the cream of New Zealand’s best amateur boxers on display”. “Results from the Nationals will form the base of the boxer rankings for the next twelve months. The rankings are the first port of call when the National selectors are asked to put forward National teams for selection”
Local boxer Joseph Blackbourn from the nearby Bellvue Boxing club, will wear the favourites mantle in the senior Middleweight division. The Hutt Valley boxer, who has just returned from the World Championships in Azerbijian, will endeavour to win a title to book a berth at the Oceania Boxing championship in March 2012.
There is extra urgency at next years Oceania tournament to be held in Canberra, with the Gold Medal winners booking berths at the London Olympics. Blackbourn’s stiffest competition is likely to come from Sam McArthur (Canterbury) Sloan Auckram (Nelson) along with Auckland entrant Josh Bowman.
Few weight division provide more excitement and glamour than the Heavyweight class. Boxers such as Jimmy Peau, David Tua, Garth da Silva and Shane Cameron, have had their names engraved on the Dewar Shield in recent decades.
A new Heavyweight champion will be crowned, after last years titleholder David Aloua-Rogers has turned to the professional ranks. Tino Honey and David Light from Auckland have been in good form this year, however the surprise package could be veteran Kahukura Bentson. The two time Commonwealth Games representative, has made the jump up to the Heavyweight division for the first time, and will be seeking his fourth New Zealand crown.
While current Light Heavyweight champion Reece Papuni (Canterbury) seems assured of favouritism, he can expect a big challenge from Sam Rapira, who is returning to the ring after time on the sideline with a hand injury. The Taranaki boxer who won international bouts in Australia and New Caledonia earlier this year, will be right in the mix for the National crown, along with former top juniors Tyson Whalley (Waikato) and Tyson Sykes (Central North Island).
Bowyn Morgan (Canterbury), who annexed the Welterweight title for the first time at last years Nationals in Christchurch, heads a large field of eleven in the Welter class. Former top class junior boxer Harry Scaife (Wellington/Hutt Valley) will be chasing the Light Welterweight title, with the most opposition likely to come from Todd Commons (Canterbury) Carl Dickey (Nelson) and veteran Ramil Dean (Central Auckland).
Four time Lightweight champion Angus Donaldson (Manawatu) will have no easy time in his quest to win five successive Lightweight titles. Standing in Donaldson’s way is North Beauchamp (Canterbury) and the Central Auckland pair of Dayne Williams and Chad Milne.
Unless a Heavyweight contender fails to make the weight - Super Heavyweight Joseph Parker will win the heaviest weight division unopposed.
There will be huge interest in the Women’s Lightweight division. While there are just two entries, Eske Dost and Alexis Pritchard will resume a long time rivalry. The two women puglists will not only battle for the National title, but also for the Oceania berth next year, which could ultimately lead to a place at the 2012 Olympics.
Multiple Women’s champion Dawn Chalmers who is making a return this year, with a Olympic berth on her agenda, will face Alina Ogg and Cheyenne Whaanga who will both represent Auckland.
Young Taranaki junior women boxer Thea Awhitu, will be another to attract plenty of attention, after she came from nowhere to win a Silver Medal at his years Junior World championships.