Kaleo Josiah, an assistant coach with the Kauai Police Activities League boxing program, found gold during the recent Hawaii State Boxing Championships contested at the Radford High School Gymnasium on Oahu, said Kauai Police Dept. Capt. Mark Ozaki.
This was the first time the Adult Open Division State Championships were held at the same time as the Junior Olympic Youth Division State Championships, which meant the K-PAL assistant coaches would compete side by side with the young people they coach in the gym.
“This was an amazing weekend,” Ozaki said. “We had our coaches cheering on the kids, giving them advice and providing them with water between rounds. Then, in the later bouts, when the adults competed, we had the kids cheering on their coaches, yelling out advice, and helping me in the corner, providing water for their coaches.”
Josiah finished the tournament by winning the Adult Men’s Super-Heavyweight Division 201-plus pounds, and also earned Outstanding Bout and Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament awards en route to being named a Hawaii state champion.
“We had three coaches and three kids competing for the state championships, and everyone left with a medal — two gold, two silver and two bronze,” Ozaki said. “I’m so proud of our team. Everyone put a 100 percent effort, never gave up, and showed class and sportsmanship throughout the two-day tournament. They made Kauai proud.”
Ozaki said Josiah’s match was especially noteworthy resulting in the K-PAL assistant coach being named the Super Heavyweight state title holder, the Outstanding Adult bout of the tournament, and the Outstanding Adult Boxer of the tournament awards.
“Kaleo had two tough matches,” Ozaki said. “He was knocked down in the first round of both of his bouts, but came back to win both matches via technical knockout in the third rounds. Kaleo showed tremendous heart, and is a great role model to the kids he helps coach in the gym.”
Josiah was humble in his victory.
“I want to thank my team mates, coaches, and my wife for all their support and for helping me to get better,” the state Super Heavyweight champion said. “I also want to thank my former sparring partner from K-PAL Boxing, Mahiai Naihe, the previous Hawaii Super Heavyweight State Champion, for teaching me how to be tough and not give up when getting hit with big bombs.”
Other winners in the squared circle included Franci Davila getting the Hawaii State Champion honor and gold medal in the Adult Women’s 141-pound division.
Jurell Bautista finished with a silver medal and the Hawaii State Runner Up honor in the Adult Men’s 152-pound division. Makoa Robeseon finished as the Hawaii State runner-up and a silver medal in the Intermediate Boys 9-10-year-old, 80-pound division.
Jesse Cardinas-Raralio finished with a bronze medal in the Youth Men’s 17-18-year-old, 152-pound division. Ares Rita copped a bronze medal in the Intermediate Boys 9-10-year-old, 75-pound division.
“I never saw anything like this before,” said Scott Romuar, the K-PAL Hanapepe coach. “The coaches and kids working together like this. It was awesome to see the teamwork and the bond we all have for each other. We’re like a family.”
Ozaki said all of the Hawaii State Champions qualify for the USA Boxing National Championships which will be held in Charleston, West Virginia from June 26 through July 1.