Coach backs NZ team to box clever in Europe

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Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014

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Russell Newton is excited about the group of New Zealand boxers pushing for Commonwealth Games spots and hopes in the coming weeks they will showcase their ability in the international ranks.

The Gore Boxing Club stalwart will leave today for Europe alongside an assistant coach for the six-man New Zealand team that will compete and train for the remainder of the month.

The trip is part of a quest to convince selectors these boxers should head to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in July.

The tour will start with the New Zealanders taking part in the GeeBee tournament in Helsinki, Finland this weekend.

They will then head to to Sheffield, England for an intense training camp which will involve good quality sparring before finishing with the Belgrade Winners tournament in Belgrade, Serbia which runs from April 25 to 27.

Newton believes the team of Bowyn Morgan, Chad Milnes, Patrick Mailata, David Light, Eric Finau and Leroy Hindley are all exciting prospects and would benefit from the trip.

He said the more international opposition they faced the better they would get.

"This is ideal for the guys heading into the Commonwealth Games," Newton said.

"I'm really excited about this group, they are getting that international experience now, especially Bowyn [Morgan] and Chad [Milnes]."

For Newton it will be his seventh international trip as coach of a New Zealand team and he too has ambitions this year to attend the Commonwealth Games.

The Southlander said the focus was very much on giving the boxers themselves the best chance to gain selection, which is decided by the New Zealand Olympic Committee, but admits it is something he is aspiring to do.

"I would love to be part of it. I missed out in '82 as part of the selection process. They named the team before the nationals and I won the title but the team was already picked, they didn't take a middleweight. If you can't go as a competitor the next best thing is in the support staff."

Whether Newton does get to go may come down to how many New Zealand boxers are selected for the Commonwealth Games and in turn how many coaches are needed.

Newton has proved his commitment to his sport and the quest to get more experience as a coach with the majority of his trips with the national teams self-funded.

NEW ZEALAND TEAM

Patrick Mailata (Super-heavyweight)

David Light (Heavyweight)

Eric Finau (Light-heavyweight)

Bowyn Morgan (Welterweight)

Leroy Hindley (Light-welterweight)

Coach: Phil Shatford

Assistant coach: Russell Newton

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