Boxing legend passes


THE country’s boxing fraternity is in shock at the sudden passing of national legend Martin Beni last night.
The 70-year-old former Commonwealth champion was officiating at an Oceania Fight Promotion (OFP) show featuring national light heavyweight champion John Korake against John Decklam at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex yesterday afternoon when he collapsed.
OFP patron Ben Micah, who helped St John Ambulance officers rush Beni to the hospital, confirmed Beni’s passing at the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) soon after arrival.
Micah announced the tragic news straight after main bout won by Decklam via a unanimous decision.
“It was only today that the champion said right in this ring that he will not close his eyes until he sees a Papua New Guinean win a world title belt,” Micah said of the final public words of the country’s best fighters.
“Unfortunately the champion closed his eyes soon after he arrived at PIH.
“The staff of St John Ambulance could not revive him outside the stadium.
“I got onto the ambulance with him and we went to PIH.
“The doctors tried everything at PIH to bring him back they couldn’t.”
Micah said Beni from Waima, Kairuku, Central, had died from a suspected heart failure.
“Martin and I have worked hard behind the scenes to stage this fight night event it is sad to see this night end this way.
“Martin closed his eyes right in front of me.
“I told Beni in the ambulance, ‘my brother it’s not time yet, we haven’t won any world titles yet, why?’ But he’s gone.
“It is ironic but Martin had to leave in the environment of the sport that developed him to be a fighter and a champion in the Commonwealth.
“He is still a champion and he will still be our champion.”
Beni was among officials including Micah who officiated the show which started at 3pm yesterday before he collapsed at the venue a little later.
Beni had a 35-fight professional career as a welterweight according to BoxRec which started in 1972 and ended in 1977; the Waima man returned a respectable 23 victories, 10 losses and two draws over an exciting five-year period that saw him fight 28 times in country and seven times in Australia.
Meanwhile, all seven bouts were televised by TVWAN on its Action channel for its Fight Night presentation.
Decklam shocked PNG light heavyweight champion John Korake to claim a clear points win in over six rounds.
An emotional Decklam expressed his surprise at learning of Beni’s passing and sent his condolences to the family.