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Cook Islander crowned Aussie boxing champ

Saturday 26 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Boxing, Sports

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Cook Islander crowned Aussie boxing champ
Cook Islander Tiana Baker-Echegaray is the Australian Boxing 54kg Bantamweight champion. SUPPLIED/22112330

For Cook Islander Tiana Baker-Echegaray, boxing has been one of her hardest challenges. She is now the Australian Boxing 54kg Bantamweight Champion, winning the title last week in Adelaide, Australia.

Baker-Echegaray says winning the Australian national title in her division is a great feeling.

“This is a big goal I set for myself this year and I worked extremely hard to get here as quickly as I did,” she said.

Not “100 per cent clear” on what winning the title means for her just yet, she is hoping to be picked for training camps held around Australia and potentially overseas. 

Competing in upcoming Women’s Boxing World Championships is also yet to be confirmed.

Baker-Echegaray will compete in another Australian national boxing tournament in 2023 which will lead a pathway for the Olympics trials.

“I’m looking forward to improving my skills and getting the opportunity to learn from new people and experiences I may be involved in next year,” said Baker-Echegaray.

Baker-Echegaray took up boxing in 2019 “as a means of fitness” and saw the immediate benefits boxing had on her physical and mental health.

She has been powering through boxing training under head coach Anton Shalom and the Knuckleheads Fight Team at No Quarter Boxing and Functional Fitness in Sydney.

Committed to and focused on reaching her Olympic Games dream she has had a big year in amateur boxing in Australia.

In July this year, 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 the 54 kg category in the open’s division.

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.

Her proud mother, Cook Islander Tongia Baker-Mato said: “I’m so proud and realise just how talented and skilled my daughter is as a boxer. She has mastered this sport by understanding where to aim her punches to win the points, she is super gifted and mentally strong, determined and beautiful.”

Baker Mato also extends, “a big meitaki maata to the Cook Islands community for your immense support for Tiana”.

“Tiana is so focused and determined to represent Australia/Cook Islands at the Olympics 2024,” she added.