Young boxer Lennox Whitiora showing promise

BEN STRANG
Last updated 12:29 03/07/2014
Lennox Whitiora
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ
SMART BOXER: Lennox Whitiora is reaping the benefits of his boxing inside and outside the ring.

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Respect, focus, maturity.

It all comes with the territory for fast-rising Fraser High School boxer Lennox Whitiora.

The 14-year-old is showing plenty of promise in the ring, and wants to one day represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.

Thanks to his sport, he's become quite an achiever outside the ring as well.

Whitiora has never had a problem at school, completing his school work quietly and effectively.

But his new-found focus and maturity, gained through boxing, has helped him become a standout Year 10 student. So much so his school has decided to put him up a year.

"I never had a problem at school," he said.

"But my boxing just helped with school.

"It helped with focusing on the work and discipline with teachers and with myself, and it helped with respect."

Whitiora, just one of many Fraser High School students who have taken up boxing,trains at the Mana Tangata Boxing Club, where dad is one of his coaches.

No chance of stepping out of line or loafing around then.

When he started boxing four years ago, after deciding he had had enough of rugby, he found it tough getting used to the training schedule.

The sport was a good fit, but the training was hard.

"I just found out I'm an individual sport kind of person," Whitiora said.

"Rugby wasn't for me, and I thought I'd give boxing a try.

"I didn't really like it for about six months, mainly because of the fitness training."

Once he found his rhythm, the sport clicked, and he's made massive strides since.

He finished second at the North Island Golden Gloves last month, but will miss the nationals this weekend after gaining a third place finish last year.

With his focus and a commitment to a rigorous training regime, Whitiora is aiming for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, wanting to follow in the footsteps of Hamilton 18-year-old David Nyika who heads to Glasgow for this year's Games on Sunday.

If that doesn't work out, his family and friends know he will work hard at school, and he has a plan in place for his future.

"I really like accounting," he said, "so I'm thinking of going to uni and doing something like that."

He's certainly got a big future, either in or out of the ring.

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- Waikato Times

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