Lani Daniels (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) is now the IBF women’s world heavyweight champion, a feat set to inspire the next generation of youth in her hometown of Pipiwai. (File photo)
The small Northland town of Pipiwai hopes to inspire a whole new generation of champions by celebrating the success of world heavyweight boxing champ Lani Daniels.
Daniels (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) won the IBF women’s world heavyweight title fight in a historic clash against Alrie Meleisea in Auckland on Saturday night.
Now her hometown of Pipiwai – a town of about 300, northwest of Whangārei – is celebrating her success with a pōwhiri and parade on Friday.
Pipiwai resident Alexis Tohu said it was important for Pipiwai to celebrate its people’s success, to help inspire the whole community and future generations.
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Daniels and her whānau contribute hugely to the development of the community, including running a boxing gym, Tukaha Boxing, she said.
“Personally, I believe Lani [Daniels] has raised the bar for our youth to strive for something more than what we’re used to. Pipiwai is a small rural place with little-to-no opportunities.”
Tohu said Daniels made the most of those little opportunities.
“Pipiwai will have plenty more champions because of the sacrifices Lani made to be the best,” she said.
“The love she has for her people and the way she has inspired the kids is what inspires me.”
Daniels previously told Stuff she struggled with depression and a self-destructive lifestyle in her youth, and took up boxing in 2012 to help lose some weight.
But she found discipline and commitment in her boxing training, and started winning fights, including a national championship just two years later.
To prepare for her world title win, Daniels juggled her training with her community work and role as a mental health nurse at Whangārei Hospital.
She would often drive the three hours from Pipiwai to coach John Conway’s west Auckland gym, where she would sleep over for up to three nights at a time.