Southern boxing coach hopes for second chance

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014
russell newton
ELYSIA TILBROOK/ Fairfax NZ
WAITING GAME: Southland boxing coach Russell Newton expects to learn in the next few days if he will head to Glasgow next month for the Commonwealth Games.

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Southland boxing coach Russell Newton is expected to find out in the next few days if he will head to Glasgow next month for the Commonwealth Games.

Newton has been part of the national coaching setup in recent years as an assistant coach for the New Zealand men's team under head coach Phil Shatford from Christchurch.

The Gore Boxing Club stalwart has made eight trips overseas since 2011 with national teams, mainly at his own cost.

Last week the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a New Zealand boxing team of five males and two females who will head to Glasgow.

On Tuesday - following the North Island Golden Gloves at the weekend - an additional two male boxers were included in the team. The two newbies are Eric Finau, who will compete in the 75kg division, and David Nyika in the 81kg division.

The extra boxers will enhance Newton's chances of getting to the Games as an assistant coach.

The decision will be made by the NZOC, but New Zealand Boxing is hopeful of having a women's coach, as well as a head coach and assistant coach with the men's group.

Newton narrowly missed out on heading to the Commonwealth Games in 1982 as a competitor.

The Southlander won the national middleweight title that year but the New Zealand team had already been confirmed before that.

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

However, Newton - who was a finalist for Coach of the Year at the Southland Sports Awards last week - said he had been more interested in the actual boxers getting to Glasgow.

"I'm just so happy that we've got these qualified, that's what my focus has been. It is not about me, it was about giving the guys the best opportunities to get to the Games," he said.

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- The Southland Times

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