Boxing: Kiwi title contenders David Light, Mea Motu eager to pay back gym's faith with gold

In the space of just a few weeks, two rising Kiwi boxers will challenge for world titles from the same west Auckland gym. 

Cruiserweight David Light and super-bantamweight Mea Motu hope to claim two title belts for the Peach Boxing stable, where the intensity has been ramping up in recent days. 

For this group, the culture at the gym and the camaraderie between them are paramount. 

"It comes down to your teammates and your coaches, and all the people that work behind," Motu told Newshub. 

"I'm not doing this because of myself, I'm doing this because of my teammates alongside me and I have to compete with them." 

Light will face British superstar Lawrence Okolie in March for the WBO cruiserweight title, while Motu has eyes on the IBO super bantamweight belt, taking on Canadian Tania Walters in April.

"It's going to make me emotional, because they literally don't understand how much of a part they play," Motu said. "The fighter I am today is purely because of my teammates and my coach.

"Those three boys, from the day I walked into the gym, they've uplifted and told me I could be great, not just inside of boxing but outside. They believe in me.

"I walk into that ring like I'm unstoppable, I'm unbeatable."

For Motu especially, the bond is deep. 

'We're very tight, very close," she said. "Especially for me, I struggle to trust males, because of the lifestyle I've lived. 

"I trust these men better than anyone I've ever trusted. I know they've got my back and I've got their back 100 percent.

"We're very strong. We're a team and I'd call it 'Whanau'."

Mea Motu in action against Toni Moki
Mea Motu in action against Toni Moki. Photo credit: Photosport

Setting the tone is coach Isaac Peach, who has a simple message for anyone who sets foot in the gym. 

"[You're] there to be world champ or you don't come to our elite squad," he said. "Sounds harsh, but the goal for every person here is to be a world champion."

They are lofty ambitions and when asked how good it is to see them start to come to fruition, Peach insists the job isn't done. 

"The goal isn't to make it to a world title, the goal is to win a world title," he said. "We haven't reached the goal, but to see that it's possible to get to this stage is pretty satisfying."

Motu and Light are now within striking distance of that goal. 

Light's bout with Okolie will be a blockbuster event at Manchester, and he credits Peach and the gym for turning his life and career around. 

David Light in action at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
David Light in action at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: Photosport

"When me and Mea both started here, we had both pretty much given up on boxing and now here we are, both fighting for a world title," he said. 

He also embraces the major underdog tag that he'll be branded with on away soil. 

"I go overseas and I'm the underdog," Light said. "We're from New Zealand, we're the underdogs. 

"You just embrace it. You know it doesn't matter when you get in the ring, it's just you and another man.

"The punches hurt just as much as expectations and that goes to hell. It makes it all the sweeter and more enjoyable.

"It puts more pressure on the opponent. He's got to bash me.

"He'll feel the expectation when things don't go [his] way."