LIHUE — The youngest boxers, at 6 years old, were wide-eyed and silenced not only by their protective mouthpieces, but the crowd that filled nearly all the chairs set up around the boxing ring Friday at the Kukui Grove Center.
“This is so cute,” one trainer commented. “The younger ones are all pumped up with adrenaline.”
The showcase brought 30 boxers from the Kauai Police Activities League’s Lihue and Hanapepe gyms together for three one-minute rounds, thrilling the audience with the pace and intensity of the boxers. At the final bell, cheers poured into the ring as both boxers were presented medals by court official Lt. Mark Ozaki.
The showcase was presented as a demonstration of KPAL’s mission of filling playgrounds, not prisons.
Kauai Police Department Special Resource Officers distributed Halloween safety bags to the crowd that overflowed into the Haunted House benefiting the Kauai United Way, and the audience was treated to an opportunity to pick up KPAL sportswear.
Kapaa High School songwriting student Pearl Michel delivered the national anthem and was kept in the ring by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., who rendered the state anthem.
“I was pretty nervous,” Michel said. “But it went well. I wasn’t prepared for the mayor calling me up to join him in ‘Hawaii Pono‘i.’”
Kauai Police Department Explorer Julia Makepa was pressed into service for the intermission entertainment, and Kauai Police Commissioner Charlie Iona masterfully introduced each combatant in turn.
For information on the KPAL boxing program, call Mitchell Collier at 241-1641.