A new wave in Australia and New Zealand's boxing life fought out the right to participate at the forthcoming Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament, which will be held in the Australian capital city of Canberra in one month.
The only qualified boxer from the Oceania region is Youth Olympic Games winner, 19-year-old Damien Hooper, who advanced to the last eight in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku. Now, the light heavyweight fighter can prepare for the London Olympics but will not participate in the Trials in Australia.
Australia's youngest new sensation, the current AIBA Junior World Champion of Samoan-descent, Jai Opetaia, will be celebrating his 17th birthday later this year. Despite his inexperience in comparison with the elite boxers, the super-talented Australian heavyweight fighter won the National Trials and will be able to fight at the qualification event.
Australia's second youngest new team member will be Billy Ward, who claimed the gold medal at the National Trials after beating Josh English in a narrow contest in the light flyweight final. His toughest opponent for the Olympics will be the experienced fighters from Papua New-Guinea.
AIBA Youth World Championship quarter-finalist and Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist, 18-year-old Jackson Woods, also secured the opportunity to take part at the Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament following his flyweight gold medal at the Australian National Trials in Hobart, Tasmania.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, 27-year-old Luke Jackson is the most experienced boxer in Australia who has been part of the national squad since 2004 and could be the brightest hope for the country to secure an Olympic medal in London. Other star boxers and former National champions from Australia such as Ibrahim Balla, Jeff Horne, Commonwealth Games boxer Cameron Hammond and Jesse Ross also came out on top of their weight classes in Hobart.
New Zealand's current top fighter, Youth Olympic Games silver medallist and solid WSB fighter, 19-year-old Joseph Parker had a tough opponent in the final of the New Zealand Trials. The star boxer won the super heavyweight title against Patrick Mailata by 13:8 and will also be able to fight for a place at the London Olympics in Canberra next month.
Hutt Valley's Harrison Scaife, who became the third boxer from the Scaife family to secure a light welterweight throne in New Zealand, also won the competition in Lincoln, where he defeated Jean-Pierre Duportail in the semi-final and walked over to the gold against his old rival, Todd Commons.
New Zealand's veteran fighter, Kahukura Bentson, walked over to victory in the Trials against Oceania Champion Joseph Blackbourne, who is the nation's best fighter in the middleweight class. New Zealand's top welterweight boxer is the two-time National Champion, Bowyn Morgan, who stopped Leroy Hindley in his tracks at the final in Lincoln.
New Zealand's light heavyweight hope, Sam Rapira, who defeated Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh of India at the latest edition of the Arafura Games, also won the National Trials. The young Chad Milnes and heavyweight David Light have also been selected to represent New Zealand in the upcoming qualification event.
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