By Alesha Capone
Werribee resident Kim Heta will head to the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) Asia Pacific Championships in Queensland later this year.
The 51-year-old is the owner and head coach at A-Team Group Fitness & Boxing in Werribee.
Heta said he became interested in boxing as a youngster, when his father won a Golden Gloves Championship in New Zealand.
Heta spent five years as a professional rugby league player with both the Rabbitohs and the Roosters.
He decided to become a boxer after injuries put an end to his rugby career.
As an amateur boxer, he won a Victorian state title before turning professional in 2005, winning the Asia-Pacific Heavyweight title in 2008.
Heta said that during the pandemic lockdown of 2020, he had a lot of time to train and was urged to return to the boxing ring for the Masters division.
He will head to Queensland for the WBF event on September 24.
“These days I just enjoy the fact that boxing helps keep me on track mentally and physically, and I just love what the Masters do,” he said.
“I like proving that we have still got it, everyone thinks you have got to retire but I like showing that we can still get out there and still do it.”
Heta said he has been training with his strength and conditioning coach Terence Kuipers from PEAK Strength Werribee and boxing coach Igor Pocev in the lead-up to the championships.
“We’re focusing my workload on getting my feet and hands working together, to get into a nice rhythm,” he said.
Heta said that remaining focused on his training while running a business throughout the pandemic has been tough, with the latest lockdown in May and June proving the hardest.
“It’s very challenging at the moment, lockdown put a lot of pressure on the business,” Heta said.
However, on a more positive, Heta said that he and his wife Louise, a sports dietitian and fellow boxer, both took up powerlifting last year.
The pair have experienced success in the sport and Heta – who described himself as “a boxer first, then a powerlifter” – has broken some national powerlifting records.
In the veterans group for males aged 50-59, Heta benched 135 kilograms and deadlifted 240 kilograms at a state championship in December.
He is set to travel to Tasmania for a national powerlifting competition on September 3 and 4.