By KEITH PUARIA
GULF province boxing is racing against time to prepare for July’s Southern Region Boxing Championships in Alotau, Milne Bay province.
Port Moresby-based boxer Mike Pisi and trainer, former featherweight and professional boxing champion John Kopi fronted The National yesterday to appeal for support from Gulf Governor Havila Kavo and the general Gulf business community.
Kopi said enquiries from the province regarding preparation and participation ahead of Alotau had been huge and that this had only pushed his intentions to prepare the Gulf team.
“I should have gone in January, but financial reasons could not permit me,” Kopi said.
“There is great potential in the province, and unless we don’t find some kind of assistance, to trial and bring the final squad to Port Moresby for a possible three month preparation, we will not have a team at Alotau,” Pisi said.
Pisi, a light welterweight has been in training under Kopi for the last three months and is looking forward to the opportunity to represent his home province.
Both men plan to travel to the province, Malalaua especially, to run trials with the possible assistance of Southern Region Boxing, with the hope of at least five home-grown boxers, complimented by three Port Moresby based.
“Many Gulf youths who come to sell their produce have been asking me ‘when training will start’ and for me to coach the side.
“I don’t want to let them down, so I will travel this weekend with the little gear I have,” Kopi said.
“I am calling on the Gulf Governor and other business houses to help realise Gulf boxing, this is a great opportunity”.
Kopi, a former professional fighter will be long remembered for his victory over Madang’s featherweight champion Kusak “Tigerman” Kamanek in 1983 for the championship tag at the Lloyd Robson Oval.
A copy of a draft letter to Kavo was also sighted, and will be hand-delivered to his office.
Bodies or individuals interested in assisting the teams plight can contact them on 734 92847.