Winston too strong for Scotsman

TEAM Fiji is a boxing match away from winning its second bronze medal or even a silver or gold, thanks to Winston Hill’s 69 kilogram quarter-final win over Scotland’s Stephen Newns on Tuesday night.

The two boxers squared off at Oxenford Studios, Warner Brothers’ Movie World Studios, the boxing venue of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia.

The Fijian Olympian had the five judges ruling to his favour.

Hill showed his ring craftsmanship, displaying good skills footwork to leave his opponent breathless.

The Fijian slayer, who is 10 centimetres shorter than his opponent, worked on the body punches and landing powerful jabs combined with upper-cuts, hooks and crosses — landed much needed points.

He was aggressive throughout to qualify for a semi-final match on Thursday.

Hill scored 10-9 throughout the three rounds.

He became the crowd favourite when he timed his punches and defended well against the long reach of his 1.8 metre tall opponent.

‘This is a team effort for Fiji,” emotional Hill said after the fight.

Newns was the crowd favourite during the pre-fight ring announcement because of his colourful record. His father was a former Scotland amateur.

But the South Seas islander was like a cat trying to catch a rat in the night.

Eyes steady on the opponent, Hill studied his prey in the opening seconds as they danced around the ring with light exchanges.

He allowed four punches on his head, a similar move to his last win — probably to wake him up and prepare his body for the assault.

And like the cat, he toyed with Newns, who threw in jabs that missed, then started landing some big punches on Newns’ mid-section.

Hill is a south paw and he used it well against the Scotsman.

Fast forward, he jabbed Newns throughout, the tall blonde nodding several times, and continued working on the mid-section to tire him out.

Eventually, the crowd cheered for Fiji as Hill slugged his way through for more points to win and meet Northern Ireland’s Adam Walsh, who beat New Zealand’s Leroy Hindley in the second quarter-final.

The semi-final guarantees a bronze medal, but Winston wants to climb up the hill to reach gold.

“The win has given me confidence and the crowd was awesome. We had our game plan and I followed it well.

“Stephen (Newns) came out really tough. He came to work and to win but I am here for Fiji and I am going for that gold.

“My next opponent will be from North Ireland and it will be interesting

“This is the fruit of the hard work of five years and four years of just training.

“I have been blessed to be around so many good people who gave their hearts for the sport and helped me.

“I am looking forward to bringing home a gold for the country. I am strong in the ring because I can fill it.

“When you cheer and when you yell out Fiji, it made me strong and I work hard to win. We are continuing as a team and we are going for gold. That’s our main game plan.”

His coaches Napoleon Taumoepeau and Pauliasi Ratu have called for Fijian support for Hill.

“We had a lot of shortcoming before we came. But we are here for the country and I want to personally thank Pauliasi Ratu for his guidance. He is a mentor and he was my coach also. I was on the verge of quitting at home but he gave me a reason to believe in myself and he told me ‘Let’s do this one last time, one last time for Fiji and let’s make history.’ I thank him because I knew I could not bring Winston out successfully on my own.”

He said boxing should be supported here at home.

“These people in the Commonwealth Games come from big facilities and better resources. We train in my small gym in Suva. We need people with a big heart, the best support — with a good coach, we can take the whole world out.”

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