Heads has crack at pro game

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
Tom Heads
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
STEPPING UP: Invercargill boxer Tom Heads will make his professional debut in Auckland next month.

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Invercargill boxer Tom Heads wants to make some noise in the pro ranks and that quest will start with his professional debut in Auckland on February 22.

Heads carved out a career in the amateur ranks, fighting in both the heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions, but has not fought since June.

While Heads was useful in the amateur ranks, he wasn't able to crack national selection.

Following some time out, Heads has decided he wants to test himself in the professional game and has teamed up with coach Shannon Bell.

The Southlander will head to Auckland next month and take on Lance Bryant, who has an extensive amateur background and will also be making his professional debut.

The cruiserweight fight will be over four three-minute rounds as both boxers ease their way into the pro arena.

Heads said the low-key event at the Auckland Boxing Association was about trying to get his name out there with the prospect of appearing on more high-profile cards in the future.

He said seeing other amateur boxers such as Sam Rapira and Joseph Parker, who he fought alongside in the amateurs, now fighting on pay-per-view cards had spurred him on to give it a good crack himself.

"With the likes of Joseph Parker and Sam Rapira making some noise in the pro ranks it would be good to get on those cards as well," he said.

"I just want to get in there and make some noise. The first half a dozen pro fights will just be about getting my name out there and just getting event organisers looking at me."

Heads said his combination with Bell was working well, but he paid tribute to his amateur trainer Tui-Marie Sonter, who taught him the boxing craft.

"I can't give enough credit to Tui for giving me the basis for my boxing, she taught me the ropes and gave me good habits."

While turning pro opens up the possibility of making money out of boxing, the reality is those just starting out do not bring in a lot.

Heads said what did help was the fact his flights and accommodation were covered by the promoter.

For him it's about trying to climb his way up the ranks and he is leaving no stone unturned in the search for success.

He is juggling work, his family commitments as a father of three, and a six-day-a-week training schedule.

He said his children were a driver for him in his quest for success.

"It's a big incentive for me towards doing this. I mean, it's not for the money, I do it for the love of the sport, but my kids can benefit out of it whether it be financially or just seeing their dad committed to something."

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- The Southland Times

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