PAPUA New Guinea’s Alfred Samuel surprised Paul Hope of Australia when he drew his first overseas kickboxing bout against the highly fancied Hope in Sydney on Aug 22.
Samuel put up such a strong challenge that Hope has requested a rematch on Sept 27.
His performance has also landed him a shot for the World Title in December against Tim Drury who lost that title to Andy Sam of PNG last year.
“We drew and the sixth round and they extended it by one more minute but we drew again.
“I gave my best shot and I’m happy with the result,” Samuel said in Port Moresby after his return.
With no corner-man, trainer or firm support from the audience there, the 19-year-old Western Highlander rose to the occasion with team manager, and Member for North Waghi, Benjamin Mul, as his only PNG fan.
“His weakness were in his legs, his kicks didn’t have a lot of power but he was good with the punches,” Samuel said.
He added that Hope was very fit and strong and experience was also on his side.
Hope had 27 professional fights under his belt coming in while Samuel only had 10, including his amateur record.
Their fight was under K-1 rules, which are some of the toughest kickboxing rules in the world, where knee and elbow strikes are permitted.
This was also Samuel’s first fight under this rule and the rugged Highlander took a lot from the result.
“This has boosted my confidence and I want to train more and be ready for the next fight,” he said.
Their 66.8kg division bout was one of two international fights staged at the Yown hotel as the main event out of 12 fights.
The other fight was supposed to have been between PNG’s Mark Sondo and Derek Lowe Heng Kuai in the 81.4kg but Sondo did not appear due to weight difference.
They were marked to fight two minutes by three rounds but this was changed to three minutes by six rounds.
Two other PNG fighters, world title holders, Laurie Hanku and Gabbie Leana fought in Melbourne on Aug 21 but lost on points.
President of PNG Kickboxing Association, Stanley Nandex said he was pleased with all the fighters and also thank Mr Mul for accompanying the team.
“Fighting away from your home ground is not easy and you have to be positive focused,” he said.