The boxing tournament of the 2015 Pacific Games will start on Tuesday July 14, as boxers from the Oceania region will compete across 13 weight classes in the prestigious multi-sport event.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is the venue for the Games, where women will compete in the boxing event for the very first time.
Great expectations for decorated nations
Tahiti, North Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Samoa have all been strong nations in previous editions of the Pacific Games, and their current line-ups are also packed full of quality competitors.
Boxers representing Papua New Guinea have won the Light Flyweight (49 kg) and Flyweight (52 kg) gold medals in the last four editions of the Games, which makes them favourites to succeed in those weight classes once again in front of their home supporters.
Fiji have not won a boxing title since 2003, but their Head Coach Paulasi Ratu has selected a strong team this time around.
Ones to watch in the event
The Papua New Guinean team has been preparing for the event in Queensland, Australia, where the experienced AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers silver medallist Charles Keama (49 kg) and Lui Magaiva (52 kg) are strong gold medal hopes for the host nation.
Team captain Tom Boga is their only boxer who competed in the last edition of the Pacific Games in Noumea.
American Samoa’s lone boxing representative will be Middleweight (75 kg) George Tanoa Jr, who has developed well under the supervision of his coach Mr Toleafoa.
Tanoa defeated Samoa’s Pacific Games gold medalist Petelo Matagi and AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers bronze medallist Henry Tyrell in the preparation events.
“I have been training him for so many years, and he has defeated all the top fighters from Samoa including in the latest bout where he beat a tough athlete. What I have witnessed from Tanoa Jr is that he is ready to fight in the Pacific Games and he is well prepared for that task,” said Mr. Toleafoa.
Pacific Games facts and figures
The three women’s weight classes added to the program incorporate the 51 kg, 60 kg and 75 kg categories.
The ten men weight classes are: 49 kg, 52 kg, 56 kg, 60 kg, 64 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg, 81 kg, 91 kg and +91 kg.
History of the Pacific Games
The Pacific Games was launched in 1966 in Suva, Fiji, with boxing a mainstay of the competition since its inception.
In the last 2011 edition in Noumea, North Caledonia, Tahiti claimed four gold medals, hosts North Caledonia and Papua New Guinea earned two, while Nauru and Samoa also secured a top position in the boxing tournament.
2011 Pacific Games Champions
- 49 kg: Jack Willie, Papua New Guinea
- 52 kg: Kauko Raka Jr, Papua New Guinea
- 56 kg: Jayson Marunui Tuihaa, Tahiti
- 60 kg: Karihi Tehei, Tahiti
- 64 kg: Jean-Louis Albertini, Tahiti
- 69 kg: Albert Temaititetahio, Tahiti
- 75 kg: Petelo Matagi, Samoa
- 81 kg: Nicolas Dion, North Caledonia
- 91 kg: Nicolas Bastien, North Caledonia
- +91 kg: Jake Ageidu, Nauru