You are currently viewing Silver kickboxing medals at world champs
Te Au Pounamu Warren said he enjoyed bonding with teams at the championships. Photo: SUPPLIED

Silver kickboxing medals at world champs

Te Au Pounamu Warren “never planned” to roll with the punches inside kickboxing rings on the other side of the world.
The 17-year-old Paeroa College student earned two silver medals at the WKA World Kickboxing Championships in Wales in early November, and told The Profile he was “surprised” when he was selected in March.
“My coach Hemi Keelan grabbed most of the members at [Waihī Community Martial Arts] to try out for the WKA tournament in Auckland, it was a basic health trial, fitness testing, and pad work,” he said.
“I got in, which was surprising because my fitness is not really that good, but I think the main thing they were looking for was commitment towards the tournament or the martial art or any competition.”
Te Au Pounamu said he entered the kickboxing ring three years ago for health reasons and to develop his physical wellbeing.
“I had my gallstones removed so because of that the doctors told me I had to lose weight because it was a bit unnatural for a person my age and height,” he said.
“I kind of got into boxing because of my cousin Boston Peka, and that led me to muay thai.
“My coach asked me if I wanted a fight and I said ‘yeah sure I’ll try it out’ and now he doesn’t ask he just says ‘you’ve got a fight next week’.
Te Au Pounamu said before his world championship selection, he competed in four fights including a shot at a North Island junior boys title for openweight in September, 2021.
“[I’ve] been a lot more active and more confident – I find that a lot of people who take up sport or gym work develop more confidence, and I find it fun,” he said.
“People wouldn’t really know I enjoy punching people.”
Te Au Pounamu said when he departed for Prestatyn in Wales with 40 New Zealand Kickboxing teammates and 15 supporters, including his sister Cherish Warren, he hoped to “have a good time” and meet people from different countries.
“I made friends with the Bermuda [kickboxing] team, Ireland, the USA and got to know people from our team and then hopefully to win something would be preferred but if not, just do my best,” he said.
“In Dubai we bumped into the All Black juniors, so that was cool, and we took a big photo with them so we had two New Zealand teams on the plane [to Dublin].”
Te Au Pounamu said he competed in the 16-17-year-old boys category at the championships .
He planned to compete in muay thai and combat boxing, but due to limited fighters, he competed in the K-1 and Glory divisions.
“Both of those categories are similar, the only difference is in Glory you have five seconds in the clinch where you can just knee and in K-1 you can grab them and knee once,” he said.
Te Au Pounamu said he faced a Bermuda fighter in both divisions and despite losing two fights against him, he still earned two silver medals.
“It was kind of automatic, so that was funny and I feel a bit underwhelmed about the tournament because it was a bit disorganised but then I thought oh well, I’ll take it,” he said.
“[The New Zealand team] were stoked, any of us who won a medal they were stoked, we came over to the other side of the world just to fight but it was still even better for them if they won medals.”
Te Au Pounamu said after returning to New Zealand, he received a Hauraki District Council OnYa Sports Award on November 9 and a pōwhiri was held for him at Waihī Community Marae with his family and friends in attendance on November 11.
Te Au Pounamu said he would continue training for future kickboxing opportunities.