Parents' sacrifices pay off for Kiwi boxer Light

FRED WOODCOCK IN GLASGOW
Last updated 05:52 31/07/2014
David Light
Reuters

MEDAL BECKONS: New Zealand's David Light (in red) thrusts his arms in the air after defeating Kenya's Charles Odhiambo Okoth in their men's heavyweight quarterfinal bout.

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Young Auckland heavyweight David Light won't have his parents in the Glasgow crowd when he receives his Commonwealth Games medal because father Len was too ill to travel.

Light is guaranteed at least a bronze medal after beating Kenya's Charles Okoth is today's quarterfinal. The medal, whichever one he gets, will be dedicated to his parents and is due to their sacrifice and support.

Light, 22, quit his job for Auckland landscaping company KB Construction at the start of the year to focus on his boxing and has now set-up home back with his parents Len and Cathy.

And when he needed to stump up with plenty of money to fight overseas, it was his parents he called.

"It's been five years to get to this point," he said after his quarterfinal win today.

"International events are what you need, if this had been my first international event, I would have bombed. To get to Europe from New Zealand for boxing can be five grand there, five grand back so it's a bit of a rich man's sport."

The New Zealand Olympic Committee raised the bar for boxers who need now to prove they're capable of more than just competing at Oceania level.

To Light and others not already considered in the elite needed to fund themselves to get to Europe to take on the best.

For Light that's meant two trips to Serbia in the last two years, one to China and one to Finland.

"It's just, 'hey mum, can you give me $10,000," he said before calling them and their support "amazing".

"I think [his medal] means a lot to them, they'll see it all worth it.

"They were going to come, but my dad's a bit sick.

"He's okay, he had his third stroke in 2012. He's over the moon. He's always been really supportive.

"I skyped them and they watched the replay. They were all bursting into tears, they're happy as."

And so is Light, though now he's guaranteed a medal, he'd rather it was gold.

He's got a top opportunity in the semifinal too. He takes on Scottish brawler Stephen Lavellle at 8.45am on Saturday (NZ time).

The pair have met before - two years ago - and Light won.

"And I think I'm a better fighter than then.

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