Young HBHS boxer Jared Smith has big future
What started as a bit of fitness training is becoming pretty serious for 13-year-old Jared Smith.
The Hamilton Boys' High School student is making a name for himself in the boxing ring, despite taking up the sport only eight months ago.
Three months ago he had his first fight, a TKO win in Rotorua, and then won the North Island Golden Gloves a month later.
He beat Keanu Enoka in the final through a unanimous decision, and Smith was as stunned as anybody.
"It was a surprise. I just picked him off with my jab really, that's what got to him.
"It's Dion's [McNabney] coaching really which has helped me. They're really good coaches and help you with everything.
"I'm hooked now."
McNabney thinks Smith has a big future despite his tender age, and mentioned his maturity as a key factor in future success.
For a 13-year-old boy Smith is very well spoken and has a commanding presence despite his small size.
That translates into the ring, where McNabney said his young boxer shows impressive tactical nous despite his inexperience in the ring.
"He's going to be big," McNabney said. "He just has it, you know. He's got what it takes to go a long way. He's one of our brightest young boxers."
Smith said he is enjoying the sport and did not expect to pick it up this fast.
"I started boxing with my brother for fitness and it's gone from there," he said.
"I don't know why we chose boxing. I guess it was physical for us. Now I really love it."
He said his tactical boxing is the difference in his fights to date
However, he is banking on adding some size to his slight frame.
He hopes to grow to 1.8 metres tall: "And then I'll fight in whatever age group I can."
Smith will be one of the Nabby's Boxing Gym boxers heading to the national championships later this year and is aiming for a New Zealand title.
From there, the skies the limit.