The first competition day of the 2015 Pacific Games boxing tournament took place today in Papua New Guinea, where the winners of each bout advanced through to the quarter-finals.
Bout of the day
Fiji’s new Welterweight (69 kg) hope Winston Hill fought Vanuatu’s Fred Nepakou in the opening preliminary round, and together they produced a tremendously exciting match.
Hill controlled the opening round with quick jabs, before Nepakou responded with his own excellent boxing in the second frame.
With everything to play for heading into the last round, it was Hill who was fresher in the final stanza, and his energy and skill led him to a narrow and entertaining victory.
Fiji did not win a boxing gold medal in the last edition of the Pacific Games, but their head coach Pauliasi Ratu has prepared their boxers well, and as Hill showed, the squad has arrived in this tournament with hunger and desire.
Team of the day
Tahiti, the main island of French Polynesia, claimed four gold medals and topped the team rankings in the last edition of the Pacific Games four years ago, and their boxers started well once again in Port Moresby edition as all of their three athletes advanced to the next round.
National Champion Jordan Tuihaa started the successful day for his country with an inspired victory over Tonga’s Fineasi Aho Matangi Lelei Tuipulotu at Light Welterweight (64 kg).
His teammate Teata Teihoarii then enjoyed a quick match against Federated States of Micronesia’s Derick-Dean Perman after he twice knocked down his young Welterweight (69 kg) rival before the referee stopped the bout.
Their third victory on Day 1 was delivered by Tautiuarii Nena, who knocked down Tuvalu’s Patala Fagalele in the opening round, and continued his dominance until the final bell of their Middleweight (75 kg) bout.
Surprise of the day
New Caledonia’s Louis D’Anglebermes delivered the main surprise of the opening competition day in Port Moresby.
The Welterweight (69 kg) boxer is only 20-years-old, but produced a tactical masterclass against Tonga’s Oscar Finau who took part in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
One to watch
Papua New Guinea’s Andrew Aisaga also took part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and won all of the national selection events before the Pacific Games.
Aisaga is very good infighter, and proved his dynamic talent against Nauru’s Mel Lachlan Halstead.
The host nation’s boxer needed just 65 seconds to knock out his opponent in front of his home fans to advance through to the quarter-finals of the Men’s Welterweight class (69 kg).
Fact of the day
81 boxers are competing in the Pacific Games, including ten women’s athletes who are competing in this event for the very first time.
Fourteen nations are represented, where Tahiti and Papua New Guinea has twelve boxers apiece, while Nauru have eight boxers in their delegation..
Among the developing nations of the region, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati and Tuvalu have also sent athletes to the boxing tournament.
The first part of the quarter-finals of the Pacific Games will be held on the second competition day in Port Moresby.
Boxers from the Men’s Bantamweight (56 kg), Men’s Lightweight (60 kg), Men’s Middleweight (75 kg) and the Men’s Heavyweight (91 kg) classes will be in action on Day 2.