Kick­box­ers get the chance to shine

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Nato La’auli knows all about hav­ing the big-match tem­per­a­ment, and he wants to pass his ex­pe­ri­ence on to the next group of fight­ers com­ing through.

The muay thai kick­boxer and main­stay of Rex Red­den’s gym in the old Porirua Hos­pi­tal grounds has been spend­ing plenty of his own time and money or­gan­is­ing the next fight night.

It takes place this Satur­day, with doors open­ing at 5.30pm.

There will be 11 fights on the card, with vary­ing ages and weight classes rep­re­sented.

La’auli, who holds two New Zealand ti­tles and is gun­ning for a third in Napier next month, will not be tak­ing to the ring him­self, but says it is im­por­tant the young fight­ers get ex­po­sure to this type of at­mos­phere.

‘‘There will be lots of peo­ple; they’ll be ner­vous but they’ve trained hard and it’s about test­ing your­self,’’ La’auli says.

‘‘Train­ing three times a week is all well and good but they need to come up against guys that have trained hard and are men­tally ready too. Ev­ery­one’s re­ally look­ing for­ward to it.’’

Al­though most fight­ers in the event are from Porirua, there will be kick­box­ers from Wairarapa, Welling­ton and even Whakatane.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be a great show. There will be a lot of skill out there and it’s some­thing dif­fer­ent for peo­ple to see. Muay thai is not just about tak­ing some­one’s head off; you have to out­point your op­po­nent and use kicks, punches, knees and el­bows.’’

La’auli says on an ‘‘av­er­age’’ night they have 15 to 20 peo­ple at­tend­ing the gym for train­ing, from be­gin­ners to more ad­vanced fight­ers.

As a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, he says they are not there to make money, but to help peo­ple with fit­ness and con­fi­dence.

‘‘By learn­ing muay thai prop­erly you will learn how to pro­tect your­self if you can’t safely walk away from a sit­u­a­tion, but also get fit and healthy.

‘‘We don’t train to fight; it’s im­por­tant to re­alise that. I’m hop­ing we can get some new mem­bers but it’s re­ally about giv­ing our boys the op­por­tu­nity to show off what they’ve learnt. There’s a ded­i­cated few that do muay thai in New Zealand and we want to give the sport some ex­po­sure.’’

Tick­ets $25. Door sales only.

Cham­pion kick­boxer: Muay thai kick­boxer Nato La’auli, who is trained and men­tored by Rex Red­den, with his two New Zealand belts. He will not be de­fend­ing them this Satur­day, but will be in the corners of some of Porirua’s up-and-com­ers.

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