PROFESSIONAL boxer Tyrone “Cyclone” Tongia created history last month at the Mansfield Tavern in Brisbane, becoming the first Papua New Guinean to win a professional Australian boxing title.
The junior middleweight became champion after 10 gruelling rounds with number one rated challenger Andrew “Sundance” Gosden, in what many are touted as one of the best title bouts in the last decade.
Asked what it meant to him, Tongia simply replied “It’s symbolic of a long and disciplined adventure. I hope my fellow youth can join me and commit to always improving themselves and whatever they do.”
Now that many opportunities are opening up, the Cyclone hopes to continue to bring pride and honour to PNG and boxing fans.
“There are exciting new challenges and offers out there, and I look forward to the journey,” he said.
From the opening bell, Tongia started faster than usual, ripping shots to the head and body.
Gosden, clearly behind, dug deep during the middle rounds after looking defenceless and on the verge of being stopped.
Then out of nowhere, Gosden forced an onslaught that had Tongia on the back foot and in trouble.
After round seven, the fight was up for grabs, and with that Tongia’s championship qualities came to the fore, drawing on his hard training and Melanesian roots to outmuscle and outpunch his opponent with sharp, hard and accurate shots.
Both men kept punching right to the last round, leaving the crowd to honour both with a standing ovation.
One judge had it a draw 95-95 with the other two judges scoring it in favour of the Cyclone, 96-95 and 98-98.