Civilized as we all may be there is somewhere hidden in all of our DNA a cluster of genes labeled “A love for combat.” There is nothing like the feeling of clobbering a heavyweight boxer and seeing him nose diving to the canvas amid the thunderous roar of approval from the crowd. Even in the street where there is no crowd there is a surge of elation in the split second between the time you see the opening and your punch lands. On the street, however, the long arm of the law is always reaching out for guys looking for that combat high.
But in the boxing ring, if you are 16 and just under 145 pounds, all you have to worry about is the very long arm of Hoku Lee-Dusenberry. He inherited some of the athletic grace, power and the overload of fighting genes of his uncle Chad Dusenberry who is now a golf pro. Hoku stands a little over six feet tall and is built like another Tommy Hearns, the knockout artist who baffled Sugar Ray Leonard.
Although Hoku is long and lean, he has the explosive muscles of a sprinter. Coach Oki has marked off the nine feet he personally broad jumped as a ninth grader at Kalakaua Intermediate in Kalihi and for 20 years couldn’t find a guy in the gym who could come close to nine feet until Lee-Dusenberry who jumped nine feet five inches on his second try. Just like that, Oki’s quest was over. Now if only Hoku’s chin is as good as Mark Ozaki’s solid chin which withstood some mighty shots for over 50 fights, yet another Oki’s quests may be fulfilled, that is coaching an Olympic Champion. Ozaki came close to being one for coach Oki and the coach, in retrospect, thought his try was sincere and valiant despite a nagging shoulder injury.
Lee-Dusenberry is officially the State of Hawai’i’s Junior Olympic 145 pound Senior Division Boxing Champion by virtue of being unopposed after weighing in at O’ahu by phone from the official weigh in on Kaua’i a couple of weeks ago. He is in the topmost division of the national Junior Olympic boxing program which is composed of 15 and 16 year olds.
Namu Spencer along with Lee-Dusenberry who also had the moxie to weigh in could also be an official Junior Olympic champion but at 154 pounds and as soon as his registration as a boxer clears.
Two girls, Sheena Vierra at 165 pounds and Deja Rivera at 150 pounds are practicing occasionally and Tasha Alo who is looking good despite her initial three losses may be looking to be the first girl from Kaua’i to actually participate and win a USA Boxing match.
All three girls have good potential. Vierra actually fought in Waianae as an 8 year old and recorded 4 wins and 2 losses. She reversed the 2 losses in re-matches.