Young boxer claims NZ title
Nelson College's Marcus Jones fought three times in three days, winning each bout to claim the gold medal and national title at the New Zealand Youth Boxing Championships held at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton over the weekend.
Marcus, representing Nelson and the Clifton Boxing Gym, laid claim to the No 1 spot in the 63kg junior division.
In recognition of his achievements, Marcus, 15, was given the opportunity to meet New Zealand heavyweight Shane Cameron while he was in Nelson on Monday to promote his match with American Brian Minto at the Fight for Life on Saturday.
Cameron congratulated Marcus on his achievement and asked him about his fights.
The New Zealand youth boxing championships are held every four years, so for Marcus to achieve gold was "extra special", said his coach Alan Dickey.
"Marcus was first draw out of the hat so he had to fight three times in three days to win the gold medal," said Dickey.
He said he was rapt with Marcus and that the young pugilist had "a very bright future" in boxing.
"Marcus is a very level, intelligent kid that trains hard, listens and follows instructions. He is growing in confidence and maturing in the sport."
The tournament final represented Marcus' 31st bout and he is currently averaging about 10 bouts a year. Due to this, Dickey predicted Marcus was going to have to travel a lot in the future to find suitable bouts to keep his development going.
In competition, Marcus came up against Renick Dawson from the central North Island on the first day. At that time Renick was the current No 1 and had represented New Zealand at the junior world champs and had beaten Marcus at the North Island golden gloves earlier in the year to take that spot.
Marcus won the bout on a unanimous decision, beating Renick to the punch and using his evasive skills to make Dawson miss, then make him pay for missing. On day two, Marcus beat Malachi Hirini from Hamilton on a majority decision. Malachi was a very tall "spoiling fighter". Marcus lost the first round but followed instructions to the letter to win the next two rounds by keeping the pressure on and not giving his opponent room to use his reach.
In the final on the third day, Marcus was the only boxer to have to fight for the third time in his division. He was up against Jedhaiah Perilini of Canterbury who is a "polished boxer" and mover like Marcus. Dickey said he believed these two to be the best boxers in the division.
Marcus stamped his authority on the bout right from the first round winning it in style. Dickey said Marcus was "moving beautifully" and frustrating Jedhaiah, taking toll for any mistake he made.
Marcus went on to win a majority decision and with that win, a well-deserved national title, his second in two years.
If you have a secondary school sports story that you'd like to see in the Nelson Mail, contact sports reporter Jonathan McKeown: email@example.com, phone 03 546 2873, or text 027 418 9847.
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