Gore man Aaron Lay (19) had one of his first elite bouts on Saturday night and although he did not win, his confidence is higher than ever.
The Gore Boxing Club held its annual fight night at the Gore Town and Country Club.
Lay, a member of the club, was matched with New Zealand under-81kg champion Sunny Teki-Clark.
Lay lost by a split decision and many in the crowd said they thought he should have won.
Lay said he had watched the fight three or four times over, and felt he had done enough to win “but you win some, you lose some, really.”
Overall, Lay said he was happy with his performance in the bout.
“He is the current New Zealand champ, so I am really happy with it,” he said.
“I got the weight off easy enough.
“He actually had trouble making weight so I didn’t have to make it.”
Lay said the outcome on Saturday had made him rethink the future of his boxing career.
He said he probably did not have many more bouts this year “but I was thinking about going to the 75s and try to win the middleweight New Zealand title, but after Saturday I think I can stick at 81kg and go for the heavyweight title.”
His aim was to get as many fights as he could, to build his way up to being an elite boxer.
“My ultimate goal is the Commonwealth Games, but that’s a wee while away yet.”
Lay said Saturday night was a great night.
“The Gore Boxing Club always puts on good nights, year after year.”
Gore Boxing Club coach Russell Newton said he could not be more proud of Lay.
“It was not about the result but the performance.
“He hasn’t had a fight since when he won his title last year. He has shown he can compete at that level,” Newton said.
“It’s onwards and upwards from here. We just need to keep pushing a lot of aspects to work on,” he said.