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East // East Oahu Coverstory
Nicole Kato

Palolo Gym Is Loaded With Aspiring Boxers

The Palolo Valley District Park boxing ring is a busy place this winter with back-to-back amateur tournaments. The park hosted the Clint Shelton Memorial Tournament Dec. 8-9 and will welcome the Hawaii State/Regional Boxing Championships next month.

The January tournament runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 19 and 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 20 for all 17- to 34-year old male and female boxers registered with USA-Boxing who have a minimum of five bouts under their belts. At stake is the chance to fight for Hawaii in the 2013 National Boxing Championships, with the possibility of making the USA boxing team.

Judges, referees and timekeepers are needed for the event, and certification registration can be completed online at amateurboxingofhawaii.com. For more information on tickets and certification, email bkawano@aol.com.

Top boxers expected to enter the states/regionals are 2011 USA national champion Haley Pasion, 2012 USA national silver medalist Lisa Ha, 2011 USA national quarterfinalist Kalai McShane and 2011 national Junior Olympic finalist Justly Laquihon.

“Haley is the second female in Hawaii history to win the USA national championship, and was ranked No. 1 in the 119-pound division for 2011,” said Bruce Kawano, Amateur Boxing of Hawaii president and commissioner for the Hawaii State Boxing Commission.

“Lisa took silver (in 2012) and bronze in 2011, and is currently ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for 2012.”

Pasion, who fights out of Kawano Boxing Club, took first place in the 130-pound division in the main event during Palolo’s eighth annual ABH memorial tournament this month. In the semi-main event, Laquihon, also of the Kawano club, defeated Steven Wada in the 125-pound division.

Palolo Boxing Club winners included Jacob Lopes (170 pounds), Jonathan Roldan (125 pounds) and Daniel Strickland.

ABH gives athletes ages 8 and up a chance to compete, develops and mentors young boxers and works under the umbrella of USA-Boxing, the national governing body of amateur boxing in the United States.

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