New Zealand Boxing Association formed

4 July 1902

Boxing match, New Plymouth, 1930 (Puki Ariki, PHO2009-334)

The New Zealand Boxing Association (NZBA) was formed to promote and foster amateur boxing in this country. After drawing up its rules and obtaining parliamentary sanction, the association staged its first New Zealand championships in Christchurch later in 1902.

The NZBA helped to inaugurate the Australian championships (in which New Zealand boxers competed) the following year; these ceased to be an inter-dominion event in the 1920s. The first legal professional bout was fought in Wellington in 1905 and the NZBA’s first official professional title was won in 1907.

Timaru boxer Bob Fitzsimmons had already won two of his three world professional titles when the NZBA was set up. And it was in boxing that New Zealand won its first individual Olympic gold medal, in 1928. Ted Morgan, a virtual unknown, overcame the handicap of dislocating the first knuckle of his left hand to win gold in the welterweight class at Amsterdam. The NZBA amateur lightweight champion in 1925 and 1927, Morgan had to move up a class to fight at the Olympics after putting on weight during the voyage from New Zealand.