The host nation's squad recorded a sensational sweep by winning each of the nine weight categories on the final day of competition at the AIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event in Canberra. These awe-inspiring performances resulted in nine quotas places for the London 2012 Olympic Games. With Light heavyweight Damien Hooper already qualified for this summer's event following his run to the quarter-finals at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011, Australia will now be sending a full 10-man team to the big show in the heart of the British capital this summer.
In the opening bout of the day, Australia's teenager Billy Ward took a one point deficit into the third round of the Light Flyweight final against Arafura Games bronze medallist, Papua New-Guinea's 18-year-old Charles Keama. The local boxer from Gladstone BC found the shots to turn the fight to his advantage and win the bruising contest 21:19.
In the Flyweight division, AIBA Youth World Championships quarter-finalist, Australia's 19-year-old Jackson Woods demonstrated his growing reputation with an emphatic win as he completely overwhelmed Pacific Islands Games winner, Papua New-Guinea's Junior Kauko Raka. Woods was leading 16:3 when the referee stopped the unequal contest as Woods took the gold and the quota place for the Olympic Games.
AIBA President's Cup bronze medallist, Ibrahim Balla, from Australia, has only just started training with his national squad but his performances during the week in Canberra vindicated his selection. His final display resulted in a ticket for the London 2012 Olympic Games. In that bout, after a first very tight first round against New Zealand's 18-year-old Gage Brown, cheered on by his teammates, he dominated the final stages to take the win 19:8 and the Bantamweight gold.
Oceania Champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Luke Jackson, the most experienced boxer in the Aussie squad, once again showed his pedigree with a polished performance in the Lightweight final contest. The Tasmanian confirmed his participation at the Olympic Games by defeating New Zealand's 20-year-old Chad Milnes by the impressive 18:5 scoreline.
Arafura Games winner and Gee Bee Tournament silver medallist, Australia's Jeffrey Christopher Horn recorded a remarkable win over New Zealand's Harrison Scaife in the semi-finals in Canberra. He then stopped Pacific Islands Games bronze medallist, Samoa's Hinoma Livai, in the first round in their Light Welterweight final to claim first place.
Commonwealth Games competitor and Oceania Champion, Cameron Hammond, winner of the Australian Olympic Trials last month, stormed into an early lead in his final fight against New Zealand's Bowyn Morgan. Although the Kiwi tried everything he could to make up his deficit, he just could not turn the Welterweight final in his favour as Hammond took the win and the place for the biggest show on earth this summer.
Australia's Jesse Ross took the hard road in order to get to the Middleweight final. He first defeated his biggest rival, Oceania Champion New Zealand's Joseph Blackbourne, before eliminating Pacific Islands Games winner Samoa's Petelo Matagi. In the gold medal contest, Ross won each of the three rounds against Kiribati's Andrew Kometa to secure his participation at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Current AIBA Junior World Champion, Jai Opetaia, who will only be celebrating his 17th birthday in June, is already being talked about as a future World Champion. He won the National Olympic Trials last month to secure the right to represent Australia at this 2012 AIBA Oceania Olympic Qualifying Event and he did not disappoint. In the Heavyweight final in Canberra, Opetaia faced New Zealand's National Olympic Trials winner David Light. The first round finished 3:3 but then Opetaia turned up the heat and won the bout 15:10. He will now be one of the youngest boxers in London, he is some prospect.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Tonga's Uaine Fa eliminated his biggest rival, New Zealand's Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Joseph Parker in the quarter-finals. But in the Super Heavyweight final, the WSB star was shocked by Australia's National Olympic Trials winner Johan Linde. The bout was finished after just 15 seconds after Fa suffered a severe blow to the head. This win concluded a perfect day for Australian boxing.
Please take note that all these quota places have now to be confirmed by the Australian Olympic Committee.
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