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Punching above its weight

Reshard Karaitiana-Lambert at the Wairarapa Boxing Academy. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

It is not about building champion boxers, but champion men.

That’s the focus of the Wairarapa Boxing Academy, and it only takes one step inside its doors to realise it is on the right path.

Every person in the academy goes out of their way to make visitors feel welcome, and head coach Laurence Titter says that is important.

“Most of these boys will never be boxers, and most will never get in the ring.

“If they can be champions in life I’m happy – champion boxers are just a bonus.”

The academy has 24 juniors and six seniors on its books.

Last night, they hosted their grand opening, with Billy Graham of the Naenae Boxing Academy attending as a guest speaker.

The academy opened in February, and already it has progressed faster than Titter ever could have imagined.

“Parents see what we’re doing, and I’ve had them say to me that they’ve noticed a difference in their kids.

“Some of the kids don’t have the self-confidence and self-esteem, but after one week here, they’re standing with their heads held high.”

Titter said he could not thank the community enough for helping make his dream a reality.

“I never realised there were so many people in the community who are willing to give.

“That is what has blown me away – there’s been so much local support, and there’s too many people to thank.”

Academy member Cayden Cameron had the chance to attend an Outward Bound camp last month after the club was offered a scholarship to send one of its members on the camp.

“It was an amazing opportunity and I couldn’t turn it down,” Cameron said.

“When I got there, it was crazy . . . there were 140 people there, but we had a little group of 11.”

Cameron said there were plenty of lessons he could apply to his life in Wairarapa.

“There were no lowlights – it was all just so positive.

“Most of it was getting over barriers that you didn’t think you could and they taught us it’s all a mental game, like everything in life.”

Acting Wairarapa Area Commander Detective Inspector Scott Miller said the police were right behind the academy.

“We’re fully behind Laurence and what they’re trying to achieve.

“It’s all about having the right mentors and management, and getting things functioning well.”

They were already seeing some of the benefits of such an academy in the community, he said.

“It helps to build confidence, mateship and camaraderie.

“We’ve had feedback from parents and schools that they’ve seen a change in their home lives, which is great.”

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