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“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.
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.”