SPORTS

Fijian Boxers Can

The Australian trainer, who works with amateur boxer and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Winston Hill, was in the country last week for the Fiji Games.
22 Apr 2019 17:47
Fijian Boxers Can
From left; Winston Hill, Jonathan Hll and Johnny Lewis in Nasinu on April 19, 2019. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Legendary trainer and World Boxing hall of famer Johnny Lewis believes Fijian boxers have the potential to become world champions but need the right environment to develop in.

Lewis believes Fijians are made for boxing and, with expert coaching, top facilities and strong competition, can thrive in the sport, similar to the country’s rugby players who are among the best in the world.

The Australian trainer, who works with amateur boxer and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Winston Hill, was in the country last week for the Fiji Games.

Hill, Lewis says, is one example of a top Fijian boxing talent who he believes has the potential to win an Olympic medal.

“I believe in this place (Fiji); I believe in it so much. I would not be here if I thought we were wasting our time. If we can get it all going, Fiji can produce some good fighters once again,” he said.

“We really need a good fighter in Fiji to be the magnet that draws other people into the sport because Fijians are made for boxing.

“They (Fijians) are good at any sport and if they choose boxing then there’s no reason why they can’t make it, like those that have made it in rugby union and league.

“I’ve seen first-hand some of the greats of Fiji boxing. At the moment no one wants to do it but hopefully we can start adding value to the sport and I’m confident, in time, we will achieve big things.”

Lewis has trained several world champions, including world boxing hall of famer Jeff Fenech, former WBC light heavyweight champion Jeff Harding and former world light welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu.

The trainer is working with Hill in the lead up to July’s Pacific Games in Samoa and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, where the Suva boxer is eyeing a gold medal.

Lewis believes Hill can reach the elite level in Tokyo but needs more fights under his belt before that prospect can become a reality.

“Winston needs to fight more. He really needs to get that experience at the top level. He can win gold at the Olympics but he needs to start fighting,” he added.

“Nearly everyone that did well at the Commonwealth Games last year had about four to seven fights in their build up while Winston had none.

“In that regard, we’ve devised a plan for Winston to face some good fighters in the lead up to Tokyo so we can get him at his peak.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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