Our boxing scenario
19 March, 2018, 12:00 am
Boxing was once the pride of Fiji.
Champions were once from this sport in the South Pacific and a few at the international level.
We even had a Commonwealth champion.
We had Marika Latianara, Sakiusa Cawaru, Semi Nate, Leweni Waqa, the Naivalu brothers, Inia Catarogo, Sunia Cama, Iliavi Bose, Jone Mataitini, Vuniivi Nadumu, Kolaia Bauli, Ravuama Roko, Seva Mocesui, Alipate Korovou, Sakaraia Ve, etc.
Boxing had limited facilities to prepare our fighters in those years, yet they demolished their opponents, with styles and courage, and made the tickets worth its while.
We did not have proper training gymnasiums, boxing equipment to facilitate a better boxer, yet we made champions from the limited resources.
Boxing programs were always full.
Boxers were well prepared and very fit to fight and had the will to fight until they fell.
Today it’s the opposite, they have proper training facilities and equipment we never used during our training, mostly outdoors or in a sheds.
Yet they lack the style and fitness we had.
We had the courage to fight heavier guys to get the experience we needed to sharpen us and get better.
I boxed from 1968-1975 in the amateur code and became a professional from 1975-1977.
To get into the Fiji team, one had to be tough and very fit and had to win every match during tournaments to be selected.
Boxing clubs competed for the tournaments, to be in the national team. Today, they don’t.
How do they pick the national team?
Today the amateur code seems to have nosedived.
It was flourishing in 2016, what has happened to those running the show?
Boxing will only be better if it is headed by former boxers and they are willing to bring back the sport to its former glory if it is restructured.
I believe the amateur code’s president has to be relieved. So far there has not been any regular competition.
A friend said that the national team and their glory comes from the club trainers (limited equipment, outdoor training, etc.) and Napoleon Taumoepeau, who has a proper gymnasium which a boxer needs and greatly helps the national team.
I believe the glory goes to them and not to the president.
The same is happening in the professional code.
The cancelled fight recently simply falls on inexperience.
I felt so sad for the promoter, Suresh Ram, who tried to revive the sport, and wasted a lot of personal time and finances to keep the sport going again.
I have seen most programs being done without the rules being adhered to, with both codes of boxing.
Yet they still allow their programs to proceed.
To revive boxing, people who have experience with any sports should be taken in.
As it is, none have the quality of fighting for our boys when the chips are down. Irrespective of what happens, boxing should not be stopped.