Learning curve

IF sport is about improvement, then a lot should be learned from Winston Hill’s boxing journey to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The Team Fiji boxing team is a champion.

Hill was composed in the tournament. Like a boxer with experience, this 1.72 metre tall 24-year-old slugger, had only six years of ringcraftmanship under his belt.

But he has competed in several home championships, Oceania, Mini South Pacific Games, the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and this week, the Gold Coast Games.

Boxing is an art. It takes years to gain experience, but this Fijian had written his resume in six short years.

Hill had been fighting this week at Oxenford Studios, the famous Warner Brothers Movie World’s movie related theme park on the Gold Coast which is owned and operated by Village Roadshow.

It is world renowned and it was where our boxer wrote a new chapter in his growing colourful career.

Hill reached the semi-final. He beat Saint Lucia’s Lyndell Marcellin in his first bout to qualify for the quarter-final against Scotland’s Stephen Newns. The fight brought out the best from him — preying, timed his packed and powerful punches to the body and worked up to the face.

He went on to meet North Ireland’s Aidan Walsh who was tall, quick and cunning. Hill did not have the chance and opportunities to counter. When he did they either slipped or landed lightly.

The connects were scarce because Walsh had the reach, the side step, and the ability to run away from Hill.

After their three rounds the five judges awarded Walsh the three rounds 10-9 throughout.

Tough luck.

“The match was about style and tactics,” Hill said after the fight.

“Aidan had height advantage. He had good control of range and timing and ringcraft.

“His style of boxing gave him the upperhand.”

“I am disappointed with the way the fight went. I tried to land punches.

“I tried to get in, but he knew how to get out. And that’s what I need to work on. As soon as I hit the gym again.”

His coaches were Napoleon Taumoepeau and Pauliasi Ratu, so a team of champions backed by experience. But at the end of the rope on Friday, the odds were stacked against them.

Taumoepeau, like his champ, used the tour as a learning curve.

“Pauliasi Ratu and I are proud of him. We knew this guy (Walsh) was tough. We knew that he would not give away the first round,” Taumoepeau said.

“We tried to get his body which was easier said than done. That kid was a very good fighter and he was tall, he punched and ran, and he was not willing to go toe to toe.

“We give thanks to God that He has put us on this platform. God exists for us.

“If this can inspire people back home and give us a gym and a national boxing academy for children and youths, this sport can be successful.”