Kickboxing world champ has eyes set on Tokyo Olympics

By Mare Haimona-Riki

For Byron Chivers (Ngāti Porou) MMA and kickboxing have been his forté, winning the amateur world title in both disciplines. However, the 22-year-old is currently preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying tournament in wrestling.

After a gruelling strength and conditioning training session this morning at Oliver MMA HQ in New Lynn, Chivers' motivation boils down to one thing and one thing only. 

“I just hate losing. I absolutely hate it…. There’s always got to be a loser in combat sports and I don't want that to be me.”

Chivers was first introduced to combat sports by his grandmother when he was just 6 years old.

“It was just something to do on the weekend, keep me a little bit disciplined and out of trouble and kill some free time, so I wasn't out with mates and doing silly stuff.”

Chivers in Action at the 2016 amateur Kickboxing world champs. Source / YouTube

After switching to Jiu-Jitsu and MMA during school, the Gisborne raised fighter has dominated in his respective disciplines, winning the MMA amateur world title in 2016 and the amateur world title in kickboxing this year, plus various national titles in Jiu-Jitsu. 

“So right now I am preparing to hopefully make my trip to the Olympics, getting ready for a tournament in Morocco. 

“I have to get in the top two in my division to earn my spot to represent the fern.”

Chivers took out the national championship in wrestling this year. Source / SkySport Next

After winning the national title for wrestling this year, Chivers says he is unfazed by the transition to the new sport due to its similarities with his other disciplines.

“We wrestle every day for MMA so we tick all the boxes for putting someone down, so it's not too different.

"I just had to change the training regime a little bit because the way wrestlers move is a bit different from how MMA guys move.”