PNG amateur flyweight (48kg) Jack Willie, 30, has gained valuable experience from the recent 32nd King’s Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, where he fought in the quarter-finals losing narrowly (4-3) to his Indonesian opponent.
According to coach Ricky Berua, who accompanied Willie to the tournament last week, it was a valuable opportunity for one of the country’s leading contenders for a place in Team PNG to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, later this year.
“Willie fought well and although he only had one fight, just being there and seeing the other boxers from 18 countries in the Asian region would’ve no doubt added to his big event experience,” Berua said.
He added that the president of Thailand Amateur Boxing Association Gen Thaweep Chantaroj had extended an invitation to all participants at the King’s Cup to return to his country to train and fight at Thailand’s best boxing academies, an offer Berua was keen to take up if funds allowed.
The Port Moresby-based pair will now concentrate on the upcoming National Boxing Championships in Vanimo slated for June, with Willie to renew his rivalry with Bereina flyweight and fellow PNG representative Lui Magaiva at the event in Sandaun province.
Both flyweights have fought twice with the ledger standing at a win each.
Willie is then scheduled to travel to Jayapura, Indonesia, to fight in another tournament.
PNGABU will select six boxers for the Commonwealth Games, however, interestingly Berua would not confirm whether Willie would be an automatic selection on the team.
“He (Willie) is very experienced and has been to past Oceania and Commonwealth Games but there are other fighters who could be more than a match for him at Vanimo,” he said.
Berua thanked sponsors of the King’s Cup trip in Wari Vele Agencies, NCDC and the Koki business community of Kelsy Mune, Lewis Geno, Monty Gwalimu, Onibu Mari and Taxie Bagoli.