SPORTS

Korovou’s Boxing Journey

Former Fijian amateur boxing champion Alipate Korovou spoke on the highlights of his career as a build-up to the BSP Fiji Hall of Fame and Fiji Olympic Order Night which
22 Mar 2017 11:28
Korovou’s Boxing Journey

Former Fijian amateur boxing champion Alipate Korovou spoke on the highlights of his career as a build-up to the BSP Fiji Hall of Fame and Fiji Olympic Order Night which will be held at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Nadi next Friday.

The Lakeba, Lau native was inducted into the Fiji Hall of Fame in 2001.

In a question and answer session with BSP general manager Human Resources Howard Politini at the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee House yesterday, Korovou said it was the thought of boarding the plane that motivated him to compete competitively in boxing. This all began when he was 18- years-old.

“The only reason I wanted to be part of the Fiji team was because I wanted to fly in an aeroplane but then my uncle who was my coach told me I can only travel in the aeroplane if I’m playing rugby,” he said.

“I tried harder and had to prove him wrong. My aim was to take part in the Commonwealth Games, which I did and every time I’m in the ring I always try to improve my performance.”

The 70-year-old believes boxing in Fiji would only improve if former boxers are involved as trainers.

“We have seen loopholes in boxing today and the only way we can improve amateur boxing in the country is to get coaches who played the sport.

“We cannot get anyone who plays rugby to come and coach boxing,” he added.

BACKGROUND:

He began his career in 1964 as an 18-year-old fighting in the light welterweight division and became the champion of this division the following year.

In 1966 Korovou represented Fiji at the South Pacific Games in New Caledonia where he won a silver medal. In 1967 he won the Fijian welterweight division and represented the country in a competition in New Caledonia. He became the country’s light middleweight champion in 1968 and fought against New Zealand opponents during their Olympic Games trials where Fiji actually won the tournament.

In 1969 again saw him at the South Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea where he won gold in the light middleweight category.

In 1970, Korovu turned professional and this saw him fighting in New Caledonia and Australia where he fought Tony Mundine. He beat Australian champion Ricky Paterson in 1976 to become the Australian middleweight champion and went on in 1977 to defeat the New South Wales middleweight champion. His professional career continued on and in 1979 he became the first Fijian boxer to win the Commonwealth middleweight title by knocking out Monty Betham in the 12th round.

Once he hung his gloves, Korovou became involved as a trainer not only for boxing but rugby and football as well. He travelled with the national teams on many occasions. Korovou obtained a Diploma in Remedial Massage Therapy in 1981 and has assisted many national teams in this area in particular the Fiji contingents to the 1993 South Pacific Mini Games, 1998 Commonwealth Games, the infamous Fiji 7s team under coach, Rupeni Ravonu and the Super 9 rugby teams.

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