Up-and-coming Christchurch boxer one-ups dad and uncle with gold

Hamuera Tainui competing at the 2021 New Zealand Golden Gloves tournament. PHOTO: MATTY LOUIS...
Hamuera Tainui competing at the 2021 New Zealand Golden Gloves tournament. PHOTO: MATTY LOUIS PHOTOGRAPHY
Promising Woolston boxer Hamuera Tainui has one-upped his dad and uncle after winning a gold medal at the national amateur championships in Whanganui.

National under 71kg youth title winner Hamuera Tainui with Woolston Boxing coach Trevor Swainson...
National under 71kg youth title winner Hamuera Tainui with Woolston Boxing coach Trevor Swainson and head coach Holly Sullivan. Photo: Supplied
The 17-year-old won the under 71kg youth title, 20 years after his father Jamie and uncle Steven Tainui took silver at the 2002 nationals.

“I’ve got bragging rights,” laughed Tainui.

Tainui has been boxing at Woolston Boxing Club since he was 10.

The Whanganui win was his fourth national title.

Now he is being considered to represent New Zealand at the International Boxing Association youth world championships in Spain in November.

The nationals proved a successful tournament for the Woolston club with gold medals also won by Neve Enright in the under 70kg youth category and Dara Lay in the under 54kg elite category.

Tainui got into boxing through his father and uncle and admitted his first year was “the worst” as he didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

“I figured out that it’s not just a walk in the park,” he said.

Dara Lay won a gold medal in the under 54kgs elite category. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Dara Lay won a gold medal in the under 54kgs elite category. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
“Over time I started developing all the skills and soaking up all the knowledge.”

His father and uncle are very supportive, watch all his fights and help him improve.

Tainui needed to lose 4kgs to make the under 71kg grade at the nationals, but with the help of Woolston head coach Holly Sullivan, it was easy.

“I was dropping a kg every week until I got down to my weight,” he said.

“I actually got a bit bored because I only got one fight so I had to just maintain my mentality for the whole week, watching all my partners fight.”

To prepare for the championships, Tainui trained four times a week and, in spite of general disruptions from Covid, said he didn’t have trouble once he got in the ring.

“Everything clears out,” he said. “There’s only certain people’s voices I can hear when I’m in the ring which is Holly’s and my other coaches.”

Tainui is also plays first five-eighths for the Lyttelton under 18 rugby team. His goal is to fight at the Olympics one day.

Sullivan said she is very proud of how everyone competed, especially with the challenges of Covid preventing some athletes from attending the championships.

“I’m super proud of every fighter from Canterbury actually,” Sullivan said. “Everyone’s put their heart and soul out there and handled the hurdles that we were faced with quite well.”

Sullivan said Tainui’s fourth title was “pretty insane” and it had been amazing to see him progress from when he first arrived at the club.

“He kind of came to us pre-trained in the backyard by his uncle and his dad. They still do a lot of work with him behind the scenes.

“He’s a very humble athlete I guess you can probably say about Ham, he’s not a show pony and he’s willing to help his team mates.

“He doesn’t put himself on a pedestal, he does the work and he knows when he needs to switch it on.”

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter