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Young Aussie boxers fighting for more accolades at Buenos Aires

1 August 2018

BUENOS AIRES: With six Australian titles and three Oceania crowns between them, the trio of Jai Dennis, Emma Lawson and Kiwa King will fight to put Australia on the international boxing map in Argentina.

For Super Heavyweight Dennis, his successful selection gives way to the age-old saying 'it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.' 

For the Brisbane local to be considered for a place at YOG, he needed to compete in three qualifying events and beat challengers bigger and heavier than him. 

“After winning the Queensland title, I went into the Australian nationals against a tough opponent from a strong boxing background. There was quite a difference in our weight, myself being smaller,” the 17-year-old said.  

“With pure determination I won that fight by TKO (total knockout) in the second round.  

“I went to the Oceania Championships not knowing what to expect but managed to win the same way I won the Australian title.” 

Training up to three and a half hours every day along with balancing his Year 12 studies has been a challenge for the young athlete, but he says one perk of being 17 is that he is also naturally growing in strength and size, which is a big plus for th+91kg competitor. 

“Recently I have grown in height, so naturally I have gained weight which has allowed me to become a Super Heavyweight," Dennis said. 

“This allows me to eat more freely and not worry so much about being a certain weight to fight and I feel more powerful when it is time to perform in the ring.   

“I’ve really noticed a difference and believe my success so far this year and the opportunities given to me have derived from that.” 

Jai Dennis Boxing

Fighting in the 57-60kg weight division, Emma Lawson will be the only female boxer from the Oceania region in Argentina. 

Emma’s coach is her father, Alex Lawson, and she says he is her main inspiration. 

“I started boxing when I was 13, because my Dad was a boxing coach,” the 18-year-old said.  

“He inspires me not only as my father, but as a coach and motivates me to do whatever it takes to get to the top together.” 

The 2015 AIBA Women's Junior and Youth World Boxing Championships was the then 15 year-olds first major international competition and she managed to make it through to the quarter finals. 

“The first time I went to the [Junior] World Championships in Taiwan was the turning point of my career,” she said. 

“When I started being noticed by Boxing Australia and realised how far I was getting as a boxer, I knew I didn’t just want to do it as a hobby anymore. I wanted to put all of my time and effort into this sport and achieve as much as I could.” 

The Queenslander will be travelling internationally in August and fighting at her third Junior World Championship in Budapest.  

With two National titles, a State title and an Oceania Championship title already under her belt, this year's Junior World Champs will be the perfect preparation before she hits the ring in Buenos Aires. 

You can find out more about Lawson, Dennis and King HERE.

Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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