One of the most anticipated contests of the AIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event was held on the first day of competition day in Canberra, Australia, as New Zealand's Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Joseph Parker and Tongan Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Uaine Fa went head-to head in the Super Heavyweight class.
This was a match-up between two World Series of Boxing stars, with Fa, a fan's favourite with the Venky's Mumbai Fighters, and Joseph Parker, a linchpin with the Beijing Dragons, battling each other for the right to progress. But the world's premiere boxing league competition was far from these two top athlete's mind when they took to the ring here in Australia. It was the towering Tongan who, after carrying a point deficit after the first round, took the initiative in the fight as he experienced told. Fa was completely dominant in the last two rounds as he defeated his biggest rival 11:8.
There was a second dramatic battle taking place on this first day of competition as New Zealand's tough Middleweight, former Oceanian Champion, Joseph Blackbourne and Australian National Trials winner, 22-year-old Jesse Ross, locked horns. The younger Aussie won each of the three rounds to eliminate his major rival 17:9.
In the opening contest of the day, Samoa's AIBA Youth World Championships competitor Kaisa Ioane battled from a two points disadvantage against Papua New-Guinea's teenager Henry Umings after the first round to triumph. The Samoan Bantamweight showcased excellent skills in a magnificent final round to advance to the semi-finals.
Australia's experienced Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Luke Jackson was also one of the big attractions to take to the ring in Canberra on the first day of competition. The Aussie team captain quickly dispatched Papua New-Guinea's Pacific Islands Games bronze medallist Tom Boga with the referee stopping the Lightweight contest in the first round as Jackson led 4:1.
Nauru's AIBA Road to London Program member Colan Caleb, who claimed the gold medal at the Pacific Mini Games three years ago, also had a successful opening bout. Caleb was too strong for Samoa's 18-year-old Mosese Uaita as he progressed to the semi-finals to meet Australia's Luke Jackson.
Australia's top welterweight boxer, Oceanian Champion, Cameron Hammond continued the host nation's winning streak in Canberra. The 23-year-old Arafura Games winner eliminated Tonga's Sosefo Falekaono 13:4 to set-up a meeting with Samoa's young hope Henry Tyrell in the next round of this competition.
Samoa's best hope for qualification to the London 2012 Olympic Games is Pacific Islands Games winner Petelo Matagi. The 24-year-old stopped the Cook Islands' Commonwealth Games competitor Etu Daniel Puni Irorangi in the second round of their middleweight contest. Matagi was leading 17:7 at that stage.
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