Sights on Russia after title win

The New Zealand Boxing Championships resulted in Aaron Lay returning to the winner’s podium last month.
Lay, of Gore, won the youth under 81kg title on July 23, beating three boxers on the way.
He beat Meschach Te Ahuru, of Hamilton, Jamahn Tautai, of Auckland and Mitchell Ngatai, of Auckland, on his way to the title. All three provided different challenges for the 18-year-old.
Lay said the very first fight was a tough one. Te Ahuru was one of his taller opponents.
‘‘He had a long reach, which was difficult, and had a good counterpunch, so I had to take my time to beat him,’’ Lay said.
Lay beat Te Ahuru in a points decision after three rounds.
He said his most pleasing performance was his second fight, a rematch of a fight he lost a month ago at the Southland Championships.
‘‘I have worked really hard over the last month on being more active and working on my combination punches, which helped a lot,’’ he said.
He believed the training was crucial in beating Tautai this time around, in another points decision.
In his final fight, Lay said he felt like he had the upper hand over his opponent Ngatai.
‘‘He is a good boxer and it was good to get an eight count on him before it came down to the judges.’’
Lay was stoked to bring the championship title home with him.
He and boxing coach Russell Newton now hoped to attend the World Boxing Championships.
Lay believed if he could qualify for the championships, it would be his biggest achievement of the year.
Newton said there was one spot available in each weight division in Oceania.
They were unsure yet how this would unfold, as qualifying for the championships was yet to be determined.
Newton said they would prepare the best they could for what they needed to do to qualify, whether they needed to box for a spot or not.
He was incredibly proud of Lay’s achievements at nationals.
‘‘Aaron is boxing with a lot of maturity. He’s listening to what he’s told and done a lot of work on his jab and double jabs. He is even impressing other coaches,’’ Newton said.
The World Championships take place in Russia in November this year.

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