It didn’t take long, before the Rangiatea boxing club was created – with 36 members, the youngest aged just six.
Tangaroa and his wife Lavi Rokoika are committed to the three-day training schedules held in Matavera.
“We believe in developing skills from the youngest age,” said Tangaroa. “Everybody can fight, but not everybody can box.
“Boxing is a science in itself, so building blocks of the skills have to be delivered.”
For some of the kids they have no plans to fight, but to get fit.
Tangaroa tries to get them to do something that is consistent, that they will enjoy and get disciplined. “It’s a mindset.”
Now, after six weeks’ training, it’s the time for the kids to make their boxing bags. “The equipment doesn’t make the boxer, so that’s why I’m not worried about fancy equipment.
“You don’t need to go to a gym to get fancy equipment to get fit, you can get fit where ever you are.”
“We will pack the clothes into various onion bags, the kids are all different sizes and different weights.
“We have to design bags specifically for each student so it becomes part of them.”
He insists that regardless of age, you develop the skills at the same time as the group you are with.
“Just practice, practice, practice.
“There are sufficient exercises in boxing, because it is a sport that has specific exercises to develop specific parts of the body.”
Tangaroa is a qualified boxing referee,judge and coach, the couple returned last year after living in China for eight years, where he also coached and trained.
Last week, Cook Islander Emmanuel Carlos beat Ali Elrich to win the vacant International Boxing Organisation International Middle Title, in Melbourne.
And Tangaroa believes the Cook Islands will one day produce an Olympic boxer.
“I’ve always believed from the beginning that the Cook Islands can produce Olympic level athletes and probably win a medal, but only in individual sports like weightlifting, sailing …”
“So, for our boxers to be able to get up to international level, you need to get about 15 to 20 fights under you… that kind of development we don’t have here, the situation is totally different from overseas.”
Boxing is not about age, it’s about the curriculum that develops them, he said.
‘Parents like all parents they want their kids to excel in something and this is something they will excel in, but it’s got to be building blocks, building blocks, slowly.”
“We like doing this and it’s something for us to help the kids.
“And I’ve always believed in boxing.”