Bowyn Morgan sacrifices for boxing medal

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2014
Kirk Hargreaves/Fairfax NZ

West Coast boxer Bowyn Morgan is New Zealand's top chance at a boxing medal at the Commonwealth Games. Edited by Monique Ford

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New Zealand boxing coach Phil Shatford calls Bowyn Morgan the unluckiest athlete in the country not to go to the Commonwealth Games four years ago.

Morgan missed the Oceania Championships to be at daughter Phoenix's birth. He hoped he had already done enough to be picked, but missing the Oceania tournament counted against him and he was left out.

Ironically, the week the team left, Morgan won the first of four straight national welterweight titles.

He's spent the last four years with his Commonwealth Games goal burning away.

The West Coast 25-year-old has moved to Christchurch to live and train with Shatford.

''Living away from Phoenix has been tough and I miss her, but I get back when I can and it keeps me motivated; to know that this is time away from her so I better make sure I spend it well.''

There was a calculated desperation in Morgan's preparation and fighting, Shatford said.

''He's given up a lot and made a big sacrifice moving away from his daughter. And after missing out four years ago, he'll be as desperate as anyone to do well,'' Shatford said.

He's fought more than 100 times as an amateur and this could be his swansong.

Shatford wants him to kick on for national title number five, Morgan wants to turn pro.

A Commonwealth Games medal would be the perfect send-off, he reckons.

''It would open up a few doors and help me turn professional,'' he said.

''It makes you a bit more appealing.''

Morgan is a powerful fighter anyway and has been fighting up a weight class in New Zealand for years in search of meaningful fights.

He's still upskilling, too, and the orthodox fighter has spent plenty of time training and trialling in competition, to fight as a south-paw also.

''I'm naturally left-handed and fighting south-paw helps me set up for my best punch a bit better, my left hook.

''It's just another option. In amateur boxing you need to assess pretty quickly what's working and what isn't. Hopefully this gives me a bit of an edge.

''And I want to go out with a bang at the Games. I've had more than 100 fights as an amateur, I've done my time. A medal would be the best way to sign off my amateur career.''

Morgan is one of seven men in the New Zealand team, after light-heavyweight David Nyika and middleweight Eric Finau were added to the team late after winning the North Island Golden Gloves event in Taupo last month.

Olympian Alexis Pritchard and Magan Maka will become the first Kiwi women to fight at the Commonwealth Games.

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