SPORTS

Fiji, PNG Showdown

  Two changes have been made to the Fijian boxing team to face Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the FMF Gymnasium today. Zoheb Ali, who is requiring surgery in his
29 Oct 2016 12:20
Fiji, PNG Showdown
Winston Hill (left) and Napolean Taumoepeau.

 

Two changes have been made to the Fijian boxing team to face Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the FMF Gymnasium today.

Zoheb Ali, who is requiring surgery in his right hand, will be replaced by Nathan Singh in the 56kg category.

Last year’s Pacific Games silver medallist Cena Ruata has been replaced by Josefa Ravudi in the 75kg category due to weight and attend  ance issues.

Team Fiji boxing head coach Napoleon Taumoepeau is looking forward to a good outing.

“I anticipate a very good competition,” Taumoepeau said.

“We saw what PNG is capable of in the Pacific Games where they led the gold medal count in boxing and they also sent a 60kg fighter to the Rio Olympics.

“We sent three fighters to the Pacific Games, won three silvers and also sent Winston Hill to the Rio Olympics.

“I expect every fight to be tough but I know our boxers have done the hard work and I am confident of a good outing.

“Training has been on track. The boys train two times daily, five days a week and we have been on this schedule for seven weeks.

“We had a few last minute replacements due to injury and attendance issues but the boxers that filled the starting positions are ready to go.

“The initial line-up of boxers were always picked based on their performance in local and international tournaments but this is usually never the final line up.

“Other fighters that have shown potential are always brought into camp to train with them and given the opportunity to win their spot during camp.

“This is now my sixth international camp within the last two years and some of the boxers that were brought in as reserves two to three camps ago are now on the starting line-up.

“After we have selected “starters” and reserves we then run the boxers through camp where they are gauged on their performance in sparring as well as attendance and discipline.

“What I’ve noticed here in Fiji is that the boxers don’t really understand how good they are.

“We are facing a country that takes boxing very serious, they hire expat coaches, they send their fighters overseas for training. When our fighters see that they can be competitive and even defeat boxers from a country like PNG it boosts confidence.

“I expect these fights to be very close and tough, these are fights where we will be able to analyse each boxer’s performance and see the things they need to improve on.

“It’s going to be absolutely instrumental in the development of boxing in Fiji.”

The programme starts at 4pm. Edited by Osea Bola

justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

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