Boxers earn ‘tickets’


All four of PNG’s elite boxers won their bouts at the 2018 Kokoda Cup Challenge on Saturday night in Port Moresby.
Thadius Katua (60kg), Charlie Keama (52kg), John Ume (64kg) and lone female fighter Laisani Soma (60kg) all came up on top against their New South Wales opponents with unanimous point decisions.
All four will be representing the country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.
The Cup Challenge provided a valuable hit out for the PNG fighters, who have spent the last month at a training camp in Baguio, Philippines, which offered them high altitude training and quality sparring.
The Cup Challenge featured fighters from the NSW team in Australia and four fighters from Fiji’s Commonwealth Games boxing team.
The NSW team sent 12 fighters (four male and eightfemale), PNG had 16 fighters (8 male and 8 female) while Fiji sent four male fighters.
The NSW state team were the overall winners on the night after the 17 bouts, with seven wins, while PNG claimed five and Fiji two.
PNG Amateur Boxing Union president John Avira told the media that this year’s edition of the Kokoda Cup Challenge was important for the country’s elite fighters as it gave them a chance to fight at home before departing for the Commonwealth Games.
“That’s one of the objectives, to bring back our boxers so they could have bouts in front of a home crowd before leaving for Australia,” Avira said.
“We are happy with what we’ve seen. They performed well, winning their bouts.
“There are certain aspects of their bouts that we need to work on and that’s why the training camp in Canberra is important.
“Thadius was out of the ring through injury for some time.
“He showed some of his qualities that he has.
“His not at 100 per cent yet, and that is why Saturday night’s fights were important, for him to get some confidence in front of a home crowd against quality opponents.
“Not only him but for the whole team.”
Apart from the main event in the Gold Coast, the PNGABU used this year’s edition of the Cup Challenge to identify young boxers for the Pacific Games next year.
“Our female boxers are good although some of them did not win their bouts. I think there’s enough quality. We will start to engage them in more skills training,” Avira said.

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