Corporal Sam Prosser grew up with the smell of liniment and a pair of boxing gloves always at the ready. His dad was a New Zealand champion, and his uncles broke several Canterbury records.
His mate and sparring partner Lance Corporal Jamal Steel was pretty much the opposite. He had never set foot in the ring until this year, and he is very much still learning about the sport.
The pair however, have scored South Island boxing titles for themselves – CPL Prosser has won the South Island heavyweight title, and LCPL Steel the South Island super heavyweight title.
The men, both members of the Burnham Boxing Club, are delighted.
Although he grew up surrounded by boxers, CPL Prosser didn’t have his first fight until he was 16.
“There was a bit of a lull then I came back to it last year. It’s a one man sport so you find out a lot about yourself psychologically. Especially being in the infantry, it’s good to put yourself in that fear zone. It’s kind of like the art of the unknown, and you put yourself on the line.”
He won the Canterbury novice heavyweight title last year.
LCPL Steel has always played rugby, but this year decided to give boxing a go. “I wanted a bit of a break.
“I’ve got a lot to learn but they are great at the Burnham Boxing Club. I have people like Uila Mau’u and Eleanoa Lilo there to give me advice, and of course the head coach Stu Adams. Elenoa [heavyweight] and Uila [super heavy weight] are both soldiers and current New Zealand Champions and were on the short list for the Olympic and Commonwealth games teams pre-covid.
“I like the fact it’s an individual sport and you have only yourself to rely on. And that extra adrenaline rush is always good, ” said LCPL Steel.