Karate superstar is Pacific champ
Move over Sonny Bill Williams - there's a new kid on the block.
Karate kicking champion Christian Erick has ousted the cross-code superstar to win the hearts of New Zealand's Pacific Island sporting community this year.
The 35-year-old Glen Innes man took home the 2013 Public Choice Award at the New Zealand Pacific Island Sports Awards late last month ahead of the international heart-throb and three other top nominees.
But he won't be calling out Williams for a boxing match anytime soon.
"He's a fantastic athlete. I can't take anything away from that boy. I wish him all the best ... but maybe next time eh, Sonny Bill?"
The win put him in the spotlight with celebrated athletes such as four-time world shot-put champion Valerie Adams and fast-emerging heavyweight Joseph Parker who also received awards at the ceremony.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with such big names sent shivers down his spine, he says.
"I mentioned her [Adams] in my speech.
"I was so grateful to be in the same room as her, let alone on the same table."
Presenters told Erick he won the award with thousands of votes in his favour.
"It's good to get more of myself out there and let people know that average people are doing it big as well.
" I'm just so grateful."
East And Bays Courier