Australia's pride 19-year-old Youth Olympic Games champion Damien Hooper celebrated his first victory at the five-day long Arafura Games in Darwin where a record number of entries competed for the medals from Southeast Asia and the Oceania region.
The young Australian top talent was only 17 when he was called to the national squad and competed at the 2009 AIBA World Championships in Milan. Hooper had an excellent last year when he secured a silver medal at the AIBA Youth World Championships and claimed the gold at the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
After Hooper's successful middleweight stories he moved up to the light heavyweight division and competed in some international events in his new division this year. At the Arafura Games final Hooper triumphed over New Zealand's surprise man Sam Rapira, who eliminated India's Olympic Games bronze medalist and Asian Games winner Vijender Singh in the semi-final.
Malaysia's 20-year-old Mohamed Fuad Mohamed Redzuan dominated the men's light flyweight class in Darwin and triumphed over Papua New Guinea's veteran Athens Olympian Jack Willie by 20:5 in the final. The young Malaysian boxer will now be looking for gold at the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.
Malaysia's best flyweight boxer King's Cup bronze medalist Mohamed Subrie Khamis also had a Papuan opponent in the final. Like his team-mate he also got the gold medal in Darwin after beating Kauko Raka by 20:12.
Australia's AIBA World Championships competitor 21-year-old Ibrahim Balla surprisingly defeated India's Olympic Games quarterfinalist 30-year-old Akhil Kumar from Haryana in the bantamweight semi-final and following this great victory he shocked his compatriot Commonwealth Games team member Jason Moloney in the final.
Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Luke Jackson had a teenage rival in Brandon Ogilvie in the lightweight final which ended with the experienced boxer's victory, while AIBA Youth World Championships bronze medalist 19-year-old Brett Mather missed the semi-final in the Arafura Games.
Australia's newly crowned National Champion Jeff Horne competed at the Gee Bee Tournament in Helsinki last month and this buoyed him to another victory against Qalim Balla in the light welterweight class final in Darwin.
Commonwealth Games competitor Cameron Hammond defeated experienced defending National Champion Mark Basile on their re-match in the semi-final and also won over his compatriot John Mansour by 11:5 in the welterweight final therefore may he will be involved in Australia's top squad in the future events.
New Zealand's Joseph Blackbourne is back on track after some poor years and on his return was a great success for the Kiwi boxer. Blackbourne stopped Malaysia's strong Mohammed Farkhan Haron in the quarter-final and for the gold he was too strong for his teenager team-mate Nikolas Charalampous.
In the heavyweight class Australia's Jason Whateley missed the medal at the National Championships in March while Youth Olympic Games silver medalist 19-year-old Joseph Parker of New Zealand stopped French Polynesia's Emilie Gineste still in the first round of their super heavyweight final contest.
In the women's tournament five local boxers acquired the gold medal in Darwin despite the fact that some of the best Australian women boxers did not compete at the event. Newly crowned Australian National Champions such as veteran Sabrina Ostawari and Sera Raikiwasa both won the gold in Darwin.
New Zealand have some excellent women's boxers and their two gold medals in Darwin are not surprises. Alexis Pritchard had an excellent run against India's Meena Rani in the Olympic lightweight class while the country's huge talent Oceania Championships silver medalist 17-year-old Daena Stephenson thrashed Australia's former National Champion Nancy Bifera in the 69kg weight division.
India's rising power Pinki Jangra claimed the Asian nation's only gold in Darwin after beating New Zealand's AIBA Women's World Championships competitor Siona Fernandes in the Olympic flyweight class, while Angela Inee secured a historic gold medal for Papua New Guinea in the 54kg weight division.
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