Recipe for club's success all very basic
There's no secret to Grant Scaife's success at the Heretaunga Boxing Club.
New Zealand are sending five fighters to April's World Youth Championships in Bulgaria, three of whom box for Scaife at Heretaunga.
It's not a bad effort for one club, although not down to anything revolutionary.
"It's pretty simple. They're always fit and they have pretty good basics. It's like anything, if you have good basics you'll do well," Grant Scaife said.
"We do spar hard and we do a lot of ring work. Some clubs don't even spar."
Scaife's methods work. His son Ryan, who'll fight in Bulgaria in the under-69kg class, is already a veteran of events like this, having fought at last year's World Junior championships in the Ukraine, and will be joined by Dominic Roe and Peter O'Reilly this time.
Scaife sees Roe and son Ryan as genuine medal prospects in Bulgaria, provided they can make it past their first fights. The New Zealand team will only arrive a day or two before their opening bouts, having made the longest trek of any of the participating countries.
Ryan Scaife lost first up to the eventual silver medal winner in his division at the juniors last year and ended up doing his best boxing days later. This time a fast start is critical.
"After Ryan got beaten, he sparred with a lot of the other countries and more than held his own. He hurt the Yank, when he sparred him, and the Yank was pretty good or at least he thought he was pretty good," said Scaife.
"We're as good as anyone, we just haven't got the volume of fighters [in New Zealand] and the frequency of competition."
The three Heretaunga fighters all attend St Patrick's College Silverstream and probably would've been joined on this trip by club and school mate Nikau Fiso, had he met the age requirements.
Scaife likes to think his coaching has helped breed some of the success, but peer support has been a critical component too.
"Me personally, I always wanted to be a world champion and I think Ryan's the same. I want them to not just be able to win national titles, but to win them well and to compete internationally," he said.
"If you have a strong club, you get a stronger club because you're always training with good fighters. That's where the sparring comes in."
Scaife is yet to learn if he'll be the New Zealand coach in Bulgaria. If so, it'll mean a bill of $20,000 for he, his son, Roe and O'Reilly to fly over.
A good performance there could also qualify for the fighters for August's Youth Olympics, in China.
The Dominion Post