BOXING in the South Pacific Islands region is headed for a brighter and safer future, if expert and technical assistance provided by Boxing Australia takes off in a big way.
Stemming from an understanding established during the Arafura Games early this year between the president of Oceania Boxing Confederation, PNG’s own head of amateur boxing Lohial Nuau and Boxing Australia, Australia will provide coaching and technical assistance to Pacific Islands countries over the next couple of years.
Nuau said yesterday that Australia was a powerhouse in the sport of boxing and the islands nations could learn well and benefit from its expertise and technical assistance.
True to their word, Boxing Australia commenced their part of the deal last week with the head of their national boxing development programme, based at the Australian Institute of Sport and assistant Australia coach, Don Abnett, and his team of officials visiting and conducting selected boxing courses for NCD and Kairuku boxing associations in Port Moresby.
Nuau explained that this was a pilot project and its success and continuation would depend on how the Pacific Islanders adapted and responded to it.He said the PNG Amateur Boxing Union hopes to conduct a similar course at a later date in a nominated centre for all the affiliated members to attend.
“As the biggest Pacific Island nation, it was agreed that the project be conducted here initially and if proven successful, OBC would extend it to other island countries over the coming months.
Abnett, with Australia boxing team physio Dale Chapman and top Australian and Olympic referee/ judge Wayne Ross are in Port Moresby conducting skills and know-how for local boxers and referees/judges.
Abnett pulled no punches when he stated that PNG boxers have the potential to go as far as the Olympic Games.
“You only needed good skills, coaching and refereeing to get you there,” he said.
“Your referees and judges were quite raw but they were keen to learn more about their roles as technical officials,” he noted.
He said as time progressed and before the week ended, he hoped to identify two or three referees and judges to work, even if it meant sending them for further training at AIS.
PNGABU technical director John Avira welcomed the opportunity saying he would follow up with Boxing Australia and Australia Sports Commission for some of our promising technical officials and boxers to gain further specialist training in Australia.