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Victory in the ring: ‘I know what I have to do’

The future of women’s boxing looks bright if the recent performance of two teenage Wairarapa fighters is anything to go by.

Daisee Omundsen won gold and Brooke Miller silver at the Oceania Boxing Confederation [OCBC] Junior and Youth Boxing Championships in Samoa late last month.

Omundsen was also awarded Best Woman’s Junior Boxer, outclassing competitors from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti and Australia.

Omundsen and Miller, who both attend Wairarapa College, were part of a team of 27 athletes representing New Zealand at the four-day tournament, which hosted nearly 100 teen amateur boxers from seven Pacific nations.

For Omundsen [16], who trains at the Wairarapa Boxing Academy, the win is a step toward fulfilling her ambition to represent her country at the elite level.

“I’m hoping it’s the window to get me into more trips to represent New Zealand. Because that’s my big goal at the end of the day: I’m gonna get to the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.”

The Masterton teen first entered the boxing ring at age 11 and initially was not taken with the sport.

“I didn’t love it. But, there was a certain point that I was sort of like, ‘okay, I think I’m starting to get kind of good at this. I’m starting to enjoy it. So I’m going keep coming’.”

Two years into her training, Wairarapa Boxing Academy founder and head coach Laurence Titter took Omundsen to watch her first competitive women’s match.

He planned to see if it inspired her to take boxing to the next level.

“I saw something early in her. She had skill, had the technique. It was now about building her confidence, building her self-esteem, and seeing if this was something she wanted to do.”

Titter’s strategy paid off: Omundsen was smitten.

“Just watching them and seeing how powerful they must feel to be females in a male-dominated sport … it was just like, wow, I really want to do that’.”

Omundsen needed to draw on the tenacity she showed early in her boxing career when she lost her first four competitive fights.

“I’ve always been really hard on myself when I lose. It was hard. But, looking back at it, I think that’s what I needed.”

Now, her discipline and determination are key to her success, Titter said.

“She’s sacrificing time with friends, time with family. She can’t eat crap food. When everybody else is still in bed, she’s up and running. When everybody’s at home sitting on the couch watching TV, me and her are in the gym, going through different combinations.”

Leading up to the tournament in Samoa, Omundsen trained twice a day, seven days a week, and ran 5-6 km daily.

In the ring at the OCBC championships, she faced local favourite Lesina Salele in a straight final.

While she was disappointed not to get more fights, beating Samoa’s number one young female competitor in the first round was an incredible experience, Omundsen said.

“The fight started, and this confidence went ‘whoosh’ right through me. I just went for it. I was like, ‘okay, I know what I have to do’. It’s honestly the best feeling in the world.”

It was an emphatic win for the fighter, who also holds the 2021 and 2022 New Zealand Golden Gloves and 2022 Australian Golden Gloves titles.

She also finished first in the 2021 and 2022 Wellington Open Championships in her age and weight class.

Omundsen will head to the New Zealand National Boxing Championships in Tauranga in July, and compete in the Australian Golden Gloves tournament in Brisbane later this year.

“I want to keep boxing in my life. My whole life,” Omundsen said.

“I’ve always wanted a career with boxing. Not just fighting – I want to be a boxing coach and have my own gym if I end up moving somewhere else. If not, I’m just gonna take over here!”

The New Zealand Junior Boxing Team at the Samoa competition. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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