Rod Rarere and Reid Karena are off to the Wako World Kickboxing Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in November.
The pair competed in qualifying rounds after being asked to take part by New Zealand and Oceania World Association of Kickboxing president Peter Thompson, of Invercargill.
“Peter had seen us fight before, so invited us down to the trials,” Karena said.
The duo said they would be flying to Budapest on November 1 and were not too worried about the time difference affecting their kickboxing.
“Nah, we should be fine. We are going to be there for two weeks, so by the time we are fighting we will have adjusted to it,” Karena said.
The toughest challenge for him would be the person standing in front of him in each fight, he said.
Rarere said the world champs would be the biggest event in his kickboxing career so far.
“It’s on the world stage, so I can’t take that for granted,” he said.
Aside from winning, his main goal would be to push himself.
“It’s all about seeing how much I can put in and how much I can get out of it,” he said.
Karena, who is also a kickboxing coach, said he began kickboxing in Auckland when he was 16 and had his first fight the same year.
“I’m 28, so I’ve been kickboxing for about 12 years now.
“My original coach is up in Auckland, but I’m born and bred in Gore, so I have been back and forth for years now,” Karena said.
He had stuck at it simply because he enjoyed it, he said.
“It’s just fun.”
Rarere said he began kickboxing in 2010-11 with Karena as his coach.
“I couldn’t play rugby anymore because of my knees, so I decided to try my hand at something else and I just took a shine to it,” Rarere said.
“Reid [Karena] has coached me from day one and now we are going to the world champs together,” he said.
“It’s pretty surreal.”
The pair said they had worked hard to get to where they were and had been training and conditioning constantly.
“We are here every night, or six nights a week at least, practising,” Rarere said.
“It is a real commitment. You have to be really fit too, so I go jogging,” Karena said.
The pair are fundraising for their trip to Budapest and need to raise $6000.