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Closer to her Olympic dream

Wednesday 21 September 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Boxing, Sports

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Closer to her Olympic dream
Tiana Baker-Echegaray who was crowned the New South Wales (NSW) State Boxing Champion in 54kg category with her coach Anton Shalom. SUPPLIED/ 22092014

Cook Islander Tiana Baker-Echegaray is committed to and focused on reaching her Olympic Games dream after winning another two titles in Australia recently.

Back in July, she claimed the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) state champion belt in the 54kg division. Since then, Baker-Echegaray travelled to Brisbane for the National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament, winning in the open’s division in the 54 kg category.

She then took out the New South Wales (NSW) State Boxing Champion title, winning the 54kg open division in her 12th fight on September 1.

Baker-Echegaray will now be competing in the Nationals Tournament in Adelaide from November 16 to 19.

“This is my next big fight and a step closer to be considered for the Olympic trials,” said Baker-Echegaray.

“At the Nationals Tournament I could potentially fight four days in a row depending on how many girls are in my division. A big week of fighting.”

Her proud mother Cook Islander Tongia Baker-Mato said: “Tiana is so focused and determined to represent Australia/Cook Islands at the Olympics 2024.”

“She is working on winning the national title, and it’ll be pretty tough because she will be up against all the State champions to win,” said Baker-Mato.

Baker-Echegaray, who is of Argentinian and Cook Islands descent from Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mauke and Mitiaro, trains under head coach Anton Shalom and the Knuckleheads Fight Team at No Quarter Boxing and Functional Fitness in Sydney, Australia.

She is following in the footsteps of her maternal grandfather, the late Baker Kaitamaki, of Avatiu/Ruatonga. Kaitamaki, a highly respected man in the Cook Islands community, was a former amateur boxer who stacked up an undefeated record under the late Sir Pupuke Robati, KBE in 1963.

Baker-Echegaray’s mother Tongia Baker-Mato and her Aunty Viriama Baker Chambers from Avatiu/Ruatonga were stars on the netball court. The sisters represented Cook Islands in netball internationally.

Baker-Echegaray is competitive, patient and resilient by nature, qualities that lead her to become a student of the sweet science of boxing, much like her late grandfather.

In 2019 she started training as a means of fitness and saw the immediate benefits boxing had on her physical and mental health.

Soon after, Baker-Echegaray completed a Master Trainer course at the Australian Institute of Fitness with the intention to coach and encourage more people into boxing.

She is now an instructor at No Quarter Boxing, training people of all ages and backgrounds as well as a volunteer at Police Citizens Youth Club Redfern where she trains children. 

Since starting her journey in the arena of boxing competing under the expert guidance of her coach and mentor, Baker-Echegaray has accumulated an impressive record of nine straight wins and already holds the following titles in Sydney NSW Australia:  2021 Novice State Title Champion 60kg, 2022 PCYC State Champion 57kg, 2022 PCYC State Champion 54kg and 2022 King of The Ring State Champion 57kg.

As a result of these impressive achievements, she was identified by Boxing Australia as one of the elite top performers in the state and was selected for the NSW National Futures Squad.