After a long hard day of painting houses, there is nothing Christine Gillespie enjoys more than going to the boxing gym and punching someone in the face.
Just four years ago, Christine was 30kg heavier, eating poorly and not exercising.
The 29-year-old confesses to becoming lazy after retiring from dancing and her lifestyle was catching up to her.
It was then she decided to scratch an itch she has had since childhood and stepped inside the boxing gym.
“Dad used to box so I grew up watching it all the time,” she says. “I always wanted to get in the ring, it just took a long time to get there.”
Christine has since enjoyed a rapid rise in the ring and is now set to fight at the New Zealand Amateur National Championships in January.
She will face strong competition from a pair of North Island fighters in the elite open 54kg class in Porirua from January 18 but is confident of bringing home gold.
Christine has been putting in hours of grind in the gym in preparation for the bout, sparring with much larger men.
“I’ve learned to keep my hands up.”
She also recently fought an exhibition bout at the South Island golden gloves in Richmond.
After eight official fights she is sporting an impressive 6-2 record.
“The losses were big learning curves.”
Should she be successful in January, Christine will be the first Nelson boxer to bring home a national title since Dawn Chalmers in 2011.
“We are not going to participate, we are going to win,” coach Randall Dixon says. “I think she will give a few girls a fright.”
Christine is setting her sights high, hoping to one day box with a silver fern on her chest.
“I’d like to have a crack at the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”