By PETER PUSAL
KAIRUKU Amateur Boxing Association’s Elizabeth Oaike earned a RSC (referee stopped contest) decision over 2015 Pacific Games silver medallist Raphaela Baki in their women’s welterweight (64kg) bout at the national boxing trials, Lamana Hotel, Port Moresby, yesterday.
The 19-year-old made a good case for herself in front of PNG Amateur Boxing Union chairman of selectors and tournament director Dick Larry as she consistently beat Baki to the punch in their three by three-minute rounds clash.
Fought in a small (5x5m) ring Baki, who addmittedly had a disrupted preparation coming into the fight due to a family bereavement, could not hold off Oaike’s educated jabs, right crosses and hooks as the younger woman consistently found the target to be in front on all cards heading into the final round.
Baki, to her credit, moved well enough in the opening frame and worked her jab and right hand combination but was found wanting when the she stood her ground and traded with Oaike.
This process repeated itself in the second round as the accumulation of punches started to take a toll on the 30-year-old.
Referee Joe Ono, who had administered two standing eight counts to Baki before the third round, called off the fight less than a minute into the final period as the dejected NCD fighter signalled to that she had had enough after taking several flush shots that forced her into a corner.
Oaike said she was happy with her performance and hoped she had made an impression on the selectors. “Yes, I’m happy with the fight. The fight was easy. I wasn’t feeling any of the punches and my punches landed,” Oaike, who started boxing at 15 under the tutleage of amateur stalwart Bona Ae, said.
“I’ve already represented Central at the PNG Games (2017) and won a silver medal but I want to represent PNG.”
Both fighters will feature again today in the finals.
In the other notable bout, heavyweight (91kg) Tala Kami had too much experience and power for a game Paul Ben stopping his fellow NCD teammate in the second round.
Kami said he was wary of the heavy-handed Ben but relied on his craft and speed to land the telling blows and bring the bout to an end early in the second frame.
“It was definitely a tough fight. Paul Ben is a very strong fighter, he’s been around the kickboxing scene a long time. He had power definitely, but I was being very cautious, I was trying to make him miss as mush as possible and catch him with my shots,”Kami said.
Kami, who has played rugby league in the Digicel Cup, said his aim was to win the division and gain selection into the team for the Pacific Games in July.
The national trials continue today (starting 1pm) with the finals in all divisions.
By PETER PUSAL