Pacific | Olympics

Te Tai Rāwhiti boxer keeps Olympic dream alive

Twenty-three-year-old boxer Tawhiri Toheriri (Ngāti Porou, Kuki Airani) has his eyes on the ultimate prize as he prepares his mind and body for an upcoming tournament in Italy that could see him qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. And he’s doing it solo.

“I don’t have a manager, I don’t have a coach, I don’t have a team…

“Not by choice - I would’ve loved to have a team and a coach. I did have a coach organised but, unfortunately, he had to withdraw.”

Toheriri just barely missed out on qualifying for Paris last year at the Pacific Games where he lost in his first fight to his Australian opponent who eventually took out the entire tournament.

“We had a neck and neck battle, and it was as tight of a competition that you can get and unfortunately, I lost 3-2 split decision. He then went on to eventually take out the entire competition and make it to the Paris Olympics.”

Although he was raised on the east coast of Aotearoa, Toheriri is representing the Cook Islands, which he also represented at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. A dream come true for the young boxer who first picked up a pair of gloves when he was 13 years old.

He’s currently trying to raise funds for his trip to Italy at the end of this month.

“It’s going to cost me around $10,000. I’ve had a few fundraisers, and I’ve opened up a give-a-little which is slowly getting there.”

Toheriri has to make the top four out of more than 120 athletes to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.