Boxing returns with a bang

Ajay Bhai Amrit (right) and Joseph Kwadjo after his gruelling secondround knockout during the event. Picture: SUPPLIED

Bula readers, it’s not every day you can say that you attended an event that exceeded your hopes and expectations, but this is what happened last Saturday evening in Suva when I attended a boxing program.

All I can say is congratulations to Lewis Hill Boxing Promotions and a job well done.

It was indeed a fantastic night of both amatuer and professional boxing at the FMF National Gymnasium.

The event itself was very well run from the beginning to the end.

When it comes to boxing programs like this I recommend that you come out to support and watch it live.

It is quite different in many ways, as the atmosphere for this particular program was great, from the first opening card to the final bout of the evening.

It was good to see a renowned Australian promoter in Johnny Lewis, former trainer of many famous fighters like, Jeff Harding, Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, lend his vast experience and understanding of the game and link up with our locally based promoter Winston Hill, to put on an event that certainly exceeded my expectations.

It had the right balance of the razzmatazz that comes with these types of programs, and also evenly matched fights right across the program which added to the professionalism of the event.

With both promotion companies working hand in hand, I can see this becoming a winning combination if they continue to put on exciting and evenly contested fights that the public would like to see.

All the bouts on the night were great and congratulations to all the fighters, but three cards that stood out for me were firstly the curtain raiser for the evening which was a women’s amateur exhibition bout between Laite Nanovu v Tanzeela Raza.

The bout itself was exciting and entertaining and both participants put on a good show for the viewing audience in attendance, showing grit and determination throughout.

The second card I enjoyed was the joint-promoter himself Winston Hill making his professional debut after being a standout amateur fighter for many years.

He took on Rakuro Dauvavana in a scheduled six-round bout.

The fight didn’t last long as Hill was easing into the contest trying to figure his man out, but then out of the blue got caught flush and seemed dazed for a few seconds, this must have brought Hill to life as he systematically went on the offensive, dropping his man with a perfectly timed hard body shot.

It was one of those shots you don’t recover from and after Dauvavana rose, the writing was on the wall.

After another barrage from Hill which downed his opponent the fight was stopped, but once again full respect to both fighters for making it an exciting encounter.

The third card I enjoyed tremendously was the main event itself, it was a slugfest where the fortunes of each fighter ebbed and flowed during the short two rounds of the scheduled 10 rounds, with the more accurate and harder power punching shots coming from the victor, Suva based Joseph Kwadjo.

We mustn’t forget his opponent the tall and imposing Lautoka-based Apisai Naciqa who used his height and reach advantage to great effect and put up a valiant effort even rocking Kwadjo at one point, which sparked a relentless comeback making the fight even more entertaining.

A couple of well-placed body shots, followed up by a solid right hand to the head dropped Naciqa for a third time and he succumbed to the better man on the night.

Boxing in Fiji has been rather low-key for some time, but this promotion has certainly put it back on the map as a high-profile event once again, which was good to see.

I am aware that these types of promotions take a great deal of time and effort to organise with so many factors that need to be managed and taken care of behind the scenes, but it did seem from my vantage point that the evening went off successfully for the promoters and all others involved.

I remember during the evening making a mental note, that the combination of both amateur and professional fighters on the card plus the exhibition women’s bout worked very well indeed with the crowd enjoying all the fights from beginning to end.

The fighters, fans and officials alike all added to the atmosphere of this resurgence of boxing in Fiji which is good for the sport, good for the fighters and good for the fans who turned out in numbers to support.

Finally, I believe there is another event being organised for December and I am sure all boxing fans will be looking forward to this being as well run and professionally presented as last Saturday’s Boxing program.

Adios readers and be safe.

• AJAY BHAI AMRIT is a founding member of The People’s Alliance party and is also a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

More Stories