O’Brien ends Nawai’s unbeaten record

Siliveni Nawai battles it out with Beau O'Brien in the 10x3 rounds WBF title fight at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

NEW Zealander Beau O’Brien ended Siliveni Nawai’s unbeaten record after stopping the Mulubulo boxer at the end of the fifth round during their World Boxing Foundation Australasian middleweight title bout at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Saturday.

The fight which was held under the Canada Fiji Southern Boxing Promotions program attracted 2000 patrons. Nawai, dubbed Fiji’s next golden boy, went into the bout with high expectations.

With the backing of the home fans, Nawai looked for the early killer blow, however O’Brien used his classy footwork to keep his opponent at bay.

Nawai was treated for a bloody nose in the second round and as the fight wore on, O’Brien picked up the tempo. He had Nawai on the ropes early in the fifth round. Following a combination of O’Brien’s punches, Nawai seemed dazed and referee Fatu Tuimanono surprisingly stepped in to give a standing eight count.

Nawai recovered momentarily, however O’Brien continued to connect with heavy punches which led to Tuimanono to give Nawai another standing eight count before signaling all over as the bell sounded.

World Boxing Foundation supervisor Justin Kennedy who officiated at the program said their rules clearly stated that there was no standing eight count. “But, at the end of the day, the decision was the right one,” Kennedy said.

“Even what happened with the referee giving the standing eight count did not change the outcome. If he didn’t give a standing eight count, it still would have been a technical knockout. We have done a seminar in Fiji on this with officials. “Compared to the last program, it was a lot better this time. At the end of the day, everyone got the right result and everything was consistent.”

According to Wikipedia, the United States Association of Boxing Commissions eliminated the standing eight count in 1998. Following that the Association of Boxing Commissions eliminated the standing eight count from practice and it is usually not formally invoked in professional bouts today.

Kennedy said Nawai had not fought a boxer like O’Brien before. “I think the fitness and the angles of punches from the the Kiwi were what got Nawai,” he said.

“Nawai likes the opponent to come forward, so he took the risk and got stopped.” O’Brien, who is a former New Zealand super welterweight champion, said Nawai gave him a good contest. “He gave some hard punches,” O’Brien said.

“It is always good to win on someone else’s soil. I did not take too many risks and got the reward. Nawai was gracious in defeat saying he lost to a better boxer on the night.

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