Fighting for ‘The Man’

Main Stories, Sports

KARTU Arang lives a life that many PNG boxers and sportsmen in PNG can only wish for.
He lives and trains with one of the greatest sportsman in the Australia today – Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine.
Yes, Mundine’s gym in Redfern, Sydney has been sponsoring the professional boxer from Morobe for three and a half years now.
Arang’s other sponsor in Australia is the Aboriginal Housing Company, which has happily extended its contract with him for another two years.
Arang says living, training and fighting under Mundine is a wonderful experience and he has enjoyed every moment of it.
He has had a lot of good challengers in the ring in both kickboxing and boxing but one of his aims now is to train and prepare young PNG boxers for the international scene in the future.
The Kabwum man has already received an Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) level two certificate in coaching and is working on getting a level three.
This has enabled him to not only train but also coach young indigenous Australian children in boxing and fitness.
Now Arang wants to extend the opportunity to young PNG fighters who want to have a training stint with him in Australia.
“They can come and live with me for some weeks and train and then they can come back.
“There’s good facilities and trainers there and it’s good preparation and experience for the fighters,” Arang said.
He said this is the opportunity for young fighters to use people like him to have access to world class training.
“I want to prepare the young generation to carry on the name of PNG when I retire.
“In kickboxing Stanley Nandex has retired, in rugby league Stanley Gene and Marcus Bai have retired, soon all the other senior sportsmen and women will retire so I want to help train and prepare PNG’s next generation in my sport and I want others to do the same for their sports.”
He said that it is not easy to make it up to that level in sports but he has done it and now wants to make it easy for others to follow. “Sports takes a lot of communication and dedication and also some sacrifice inorder for you to achieve the best results, and I want to help,” he said.
“If you a dedicated enough to your training and your game then you will win a sponsor but you must concentrate.”
Known as the “Wantok Warrior,” Kartu has 16 professional fights which he has won four and drawn five.
Five of the fights were all title bouts for both national and state titles in Australia.
Arang says training and fighting under Mundine is really good for him because he learns a lot from “The Man.”
“Anthony is a wonderful person to know and work with and is also a great athlete,” said Arang.
Arang said that he was unemployed before he became professional boxer so he sees this sport and his skills as a gift.
He believes that it can be a way for many youths to do something worthwhile in their lives as well instead of getting into law and order problems.
PNG’s professional Muay Thai fighter, Lee “The Flash” Garap agrees with Arang; “It is better than doing nothing and getting into trouble.
“It is also a way of staying healthy mentally and physically.”
They are also happy with the government’s policy of using sports as a tool for development and would be happy to assist whenever they are needed.
“Sports changed my life and I want the same for others,” Arang said.
He used to live at the Busu settlement in Lae and after finishing Grade 10 at Busu High School, had no job and was involved with the boys on the street.
“I used to get into a lot of fights and trouble there so I took up Kakafuse Kung Fu to learn to defend myself, I saw that it wasn’t a good life on the street,” he said.
He met Nandex and other future kickboxers and boxers while studying Kakafuse and in 1998 became a professional kickboxer before joining Mundine in 2006.
Arang is on break for Christmas and may return in the middle of January for Mundine’s IBO title defence.