Thai boxer ready for a re­demp­tion bat­tle

Hamilton Press - - CONVERSATIONS - KEL­LEY TANTAU

Young Hamil­ton Thai boxer Rangi Hag­gie is look­ing to fight his way into the sport’s pro­fes­sional league.

But for now, it’s one fight at a time. And that con­tin­ues next week when he and other Thai fight­ers will com­pete at an event in Hamil­ton.

Storm­force Gym, lo­cated on Vialou St, will hold an af­ter­noon of com­pe­ti­tion fight­ing fea­tur­ing lo­cal box­ers.

For some, it means prac­tis­ing against new ri­vals.

For Hag­gie, it also means re­demp­tion.

At a fight in De­cem­ber, Hag­gie won against an op­po­nent from Auck­land by a slim mar­gin. This time he wants to nail a con­vinc­ing win.

Hag­gie’s coach, for­mer fighter Norm ‘‘The Storm’’ Gra­ham be­lieves Hag­gie has the tal­ent to win.

‘‘Ev­ery fight’s got its pres­sures, ev­ery fight can bring the best out of you or not.

‘‘I’m ex­tremely con­fi­dent that we will be able to do what we wanted to do the first time.’’

Hag­gie, 21, started fight­ing in 2012 at Huntly Kick­box­ing where he trained for two and a half years.

After a break, he be­gan box­ing at Storm­force full-time.

He has had 15 fights, and won 12 of them. He is also a two-time New Zealand Thai Box­ing champ.

Thai box­ing is a com­bat sport that uses stand-up strik­ing and clinch­ing tech­niques and is known as ‘‘the art of eight limbs’’.

‘‘You can do any­thing, re­ally, as long as you don’t get car­ried away,’’ Gra­ham said.

‘‘You need to be able to fight dif­fer­ent styles. You need to have a lot of tools in the box.

‘‘You ei­ther win or you learn. It’s science, but it’s not rocket science.’’

A clas­sic move could be the foot jab, or ‘‘teep’’.

Hag­gie’s fights are usu­ally five, two-minute rounds, which are then scored by three judges.

The for­mer Fair­field Col­lege stu­dent wants to one day turn pro­fes­sional.

‘‘That’s the goal. It’s some­thing I’ve been want­ing for a while,’’ he said.

The event will be held dur­ing the day from 1pm-5pm at Storm­force Gym, lo­cated at 23 Vialou St, Hamil­ton, on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 18.

Tick­ets are $25 for pre-sale, $30 at the door and table tick­ets $40. To en­quire, phone 021 2507722 or find Storm­force Gym on Face­book.

Rangi Hag­gie, 21, is pre­par­ing for a re­demp­tion fight against an Auck­land op­po­nent in Hamil­ton on Fe­bru­ary 18.

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