Gisborne boxer looks to hit the big time

By James Perry

18-year-old Tāwhirimātea Toheriri-Hallett is quickly rising through the amateur boxing ranks.  A youth Golden Gloves champion, he is setting his sights on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The Gisborne local began boxing around 6 years ago.  His dream is to earn selection in the New Zealand Olympic team for Tokyo 2020, before turning professional and becoming a world champion.

James Kahukoti has long been involved in boxing in Gisborne.  He has overseen Toheriri-Hallett's development since the beginning.

He says Toheriri-Hallett is just starting to bloom. 

"Over the last year I think the science of boxing has really just soaked in, and he's started to find his own style," he says.

The Gisborne Boys High School student recently got to represent NZ in the ring in Auckland.  He earned a unanimous decision win against his Australian opponent Kyle Swanepol.

"The last couple of fights have been important fights, and he's come through," Kahukoti says.

Toheriri-Hallett says it was a good feeling to wear the silver fern and the victory was an added bonus.

The former youth Golden Gloves champion grew up in a rugby family but found his way into boxing.

He has amassed 34 bouts in his short career.  He says he finds the sport amazing, while many might see it as a violent sport, he sees it as beautiful.

His boxing idols include undefeated, multi-division world champion Floyd Mayweather and former world heavyweight champion New Zealander Joseph Parker.

He hopes to one day emulate their successes on the world stage.

The fleet-footed Ngāti Porou boxer might just be seen around the world for years to come.