Local boxing gym punching above its weight thanks to community grant
Life lessons, skills and fitness – a Taupō boxing gym that’s about more than just sport, has been given a boost to help it buy new equipment.
Nuki’s Boxing Gym, which caters for children and adults from ages five upwards, successfully applied for a Taupō District Council community sports grant recently.
The money will go towards new boxing gear that will better suit younger boxers and offer more diverse training options for elite boxers.
Nuki’s Boxing Gym Incorporated started as Taupō Boxing Gym in 1978. When head coach and mentor Rodney ‘Nuki’ Johnson passed away the club was named after him to commemorate his services to boxing.
The club has grown in recent years, with about 30 members attending each training session. It caters to all ages, from young kids aged five to nine, to adults making the switch from rugby or league and going into the New Zealand amateur boxing circuit.
One of its most successful current boxers is Jayden Ball, who recently won the heavyweight division and best fight of the tournament trophy at the Challenge Maco Nena Tournament in Tahiti.
Boxing coach Powell Marshall says the gym teaches valuable life lessons along with the necessary skills and fitness that go into boxing.
“The kids that come here, they all grow up and learn things that don’t come easy, like staying in the gym. They have to train with purpose.
“I see shy kids come out of that [shyness] and start to speak up, the tough kids that might be bullies turn around to become humble people with nothing to prove. I see girls and young women grow their inner confidence.
“Everyone that walks in takes something good away the day that they leave – if they leave.
“The gym is about being a safe sporting option for our rangatahi to take on and maybe pick up a couple of life skills. It’s about learning boxing as an art, keeping it about the art of boxing and not just a fight.”
Does your sport teach important life lessons for any age? Community Sports Grants are next open in October, giving plenty of time to prepare applications.