The OCBC Oceanian Confederation Boxing Championships begin in Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday 25 June, the last of the five Continental Championships that also serve as the sole direct qualification routes to August’s AIBA World Championships. The two finalists at each of the ten weight categories will book their passage to Hamburg, and with Rio 2016 Olympians, Commonwealth Games medallists and WSB boxers among the names in the draw, the likes of Australia, Papua New Guinea and a resurgent New Zealand team will be sending strong squads full of medal potential.
The first edition of the Oceanian Championships was held in Sydney in 1969, and since then the likes of New Zealand, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea have all hosted the prestigious tournament that has seen wins from local heroes such as Australia’s Robert Peden and Michael Katsidis, New Zealand’s Michael Kenny and David Tua and Tonga’s Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games silver medallist Paea Wolfgramm.
The Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu teams complete the list of National Federation entries to this year’s competition, with Vanuatu number one Boe Warawara looking to defend the Bantamweight (56kg) title won two years ago that saw him go on to appear at the Doha 2015 AIBA World Championships and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Australian Super Heavyweight (+91kg) Joseph Goodall won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and will now have his sights set on gold here along with teammates Jason Whateley (91kg), AIBA Youth World Championship bronze medallist Sam Goodman (56kg) and former AIBA Junior World Champion Clay Waterman (81kg).
New Zealander David Nyika impressed at Heavyweight (91kg) with the British Lionhearts during WSB Season VII and will be full of confidence heading to the Gold Coast, as will Papua New Guinea’s defending OCBC Flyweight (52kg) Champion Charles Keama and Rio 2016 Olympian Thadius Katua. Hone Siaosi Huni lives and trains in Queensland, Australia, but represents Tonga at Middleweight (75kg) in his first major Elite competition, while Fiji will be looking for a top-two finish from their Rio 2016 Olympian Winston Hill (69kg).