Gore punching above its weight

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 12:38 13/06/2014

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Southland Boxing Association life member Tom O'Connor says Russell Newton's appointment as an assistant coach at the Commonwealth Games is a major boost to the sport in the deep south.

Newton was confirmed this week as the assistant coach for the New Zealand boxing team which will attend the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.

The Gore Boxing Club coach will assist Phil Shatford with the male team, while Cameron Todd will coach the two female boxers.

John McKay will manage the entire squad.

O'Connor was delighted for Newton who, he said, had done a lot for boxing in Southland - in particular with the Gore club.

"It is absolutely wonderful, it would be one of the best acknowledgments we have had for a long time," he said.

"I said to Russell [on Monday] I was that excited it felt like I was going myself."

The big plus for Southland boxing is the more international experience Newton continues to get the more knowledge he can bring back and pass on to local boxers and coaches.

"One thing I admire about Russell is no matter how many appointments he has had he has stressed it is an opportunity to keep learning his trade.

"We acknowledge him down here as a very accomplished coach in all aspects - the way he treats his boxers, the way he coaches them, the way he sees how they are increasing their ability in the sport," O'Connor said.

"He's won the respect of the national coach Phil Shatford, they've got a great camaraderie and they've got a great team together and they have had great success."

Newton has been on many overseas assignments in recent years with various New Zealand teams and it has had to be mostly self-funded.

The 2013 Southland coach of the year finalist has had plenty of financial support from the Gore Boxing Club to help him get to many of those international tournaments.

Newton narrowly missed out on heading to the Commonwealth Games in 1982 as a competitor. He won the national middleweight title that year but the New Zealand team had already been confirmed.

The next best thing for him will be to go to the Commonwealth Games 32 years later as a coach.

New Zealand will have seven male boxers and two female fighters competing in Glasgow.

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- The Southland Times

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