Boxers from the men’s Bantamweight (56 kg), Lightweight (60 kg), Middleweight (75 kg) and Heavyweight (91 kg) classes fought for guaranteed medals today in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Bout of the day
American Samoa’s George Alfred Tanoa Jr arrived to the venue of the Pacific Games as a gold medal contender in the Middleweight class (75 kg), but was sensationally defeated in his quarter-final against Papua New Guinea’s Jonathan Keama.
A hugely entertaining contest began as Keama impressed with excellent movement and quick punches, which allowed him to take the lead after the opening three minutes of their top quality bout.
Tanoa Jr kept moving forward and tried to increase his own attacks, but the host nation’s pride counter-attacked magnificently, and ultimately claimed the victory against his decorated rival.
The win for Keama results in a semi-final place and at least a guaranteed bronze medal.
Team of the day
Papua New Guinea had a trio of boxers in action on the second competition day, and all three of the host nation’s boxers produced victories.
Following Jonathan Keama’s wonderful success, Arafura Games bronze medallist Henry Umings knocked down Nauru’s Commonwealth Games competitor Matthew Martin en route to a decisive triumph in their Bantamweight (56 kg) match.
Thadius Katua made it a hat-trick of success for Papua New Guinea when he eliminated North Caledonia’s Athale Gyan at Lightweight (60 kg).
Surprise of the day
Although Fiji’s Sukuna Bowl Tournament winner Viliame Vutikalulu took part in the last edition of the Pacific Games, he was not the favourite in his match against Tonga’s National Champion Sione Otutoa Hurrell.
Despite his underdog status, Vutikalulu controlled the opening round of the bout when he reduced the fighting distance in their key Heavyweight (91 kg) bout.
The Tongan boxer then received a warning from the referee in the second round, and could not turn back the bout in the final round.
After three frames of engrossing action, Vutikalulu claimed the surprise victory, and a place in the semi-final stages.
Ones to watch
Tahiti’s two-time National Champion Heimata Neuffer is a very exciting Heavyweight (91 kg) prospect and won every round of his match with North Caledonia’s newcomer Yves Junior Liufau.
Kiribati’s experienced Andrew Kometa won the bronze medal at the 2012 AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Canberra, and competed in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games.
The Bairiki-based boxer had a height advantage against Vanuatu’s Masing Jonathan Thu, which allowed him to eventually stop Kiribati’s spirited athlete with hard punches.
Fact of the day
Eleven bouts were held on the second boxing competition day of the Pacific Games in Port Moresby where the following nations have secured eleven medals:
- Tahiti: 4 medals
- Papua New Guinea: 3 medals
- Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru and Samoa: 1 guaranteed medal
Women’s boxing will make its debut in the competition tomorrow where the semi-finals of the Flyweight class (51 kg), Lightweight (60 kg) and Middleweight (75 kg) classes are in the program.
The quarter-finals of the men’s Light Welterweight (64 kg), Welterweight (69 kg), Light Heavyweight (81 kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91 kg) classes will also be held on Day 3.