The boxing tournament of the Pacific Games continued today in Honiara, Solomon Islands, with the quarterfinals in full swing. A total of 22 bouts, including 13 quarterfinals in Olympic categories, unfolded on November 28 at the “Friendship Hall” venue.
In the first of today’s four men’s 63.5kg quarterfinals, a compelling rematch took place between two Tokyo 2020 Olympians: Ume John of Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Harry Garside, who had previously met at the Kokugikan Arena on July 25, 2021, during the Tokyo Games’ round of 16. Two years later, Garside showcased a display of speed and technical prowess, effectively countering John’s power to secure a decisive 5:0 victory, just like two years ago in Tokyo.
Next in line in the tournament, Garside is slated to face Solomon Islands’ Pemberton Lele, who garnered the acclaim of the home crowd by convincingly defeating Alexander Eliam Jr. of the Federated States of Micronesia with a flawless 5:0 score earlier today.
In the same weight category, New Zealand’s Kalani Hemi Marra displayed his prowess by defeating Lautofa Lutu from Samoa, prompting the referee to halt the contest in the midst of round 3 after a standing count. In the subsequent stage of the tournament, Marra is set to contend with Fiji’s Elia Rokobuli, who also advanced through the competition via a Referee Stops Contest (RSC) against Nauru’s Mathew Martin.
In the first men’s 71kg quarterfinal of the day, Nauru’s Lachlan Halstead secured victory over Tuvalu’s Fiu Tui with a unanimous decision, earning a spot in the semifinals against Wendell Stanley from New Zealand. Stanley, in turn, delivered an impressive performance by giving two standing counts to local hero Dicks Lio from Solomon Island, ultimately leading to the referee stopping the contest at the end of round 2.
In the same category, Australia’s Shannan Davey triumphed over Tawhirimatea Toheriri-Hallet from the Cook Islands with a 4:1 split decision. Davey is now poised to face Tonga’s Taufa Laveaau, who outscored American Samoa’s Losifafo Tunoa with a unanimous decision.
In the men’s +92kg weight class, it took just 1:58 minutes for New Zealand’s Patrick Mailata to clinch victory in his quarterfinal match against American Samoa’s Jadan Liu. Mailata’s strategic pursuit and effective cornering culminated in a powerful combination that brought Liu to the ground, propelling Mailata into the semifinals. Also Samoa’s Elijah Mercury-Leafa exhibited remarkable efficiency by securing victory in just 1:47 minutes in his bout against Kiribati’s Beeni Roubena. The referee intervened, stopping the contest in the first round after Roubena received three standing counts in less than two minutes. The upcoming semifinal clash between Mailata and Mercury-Leafa promises to be a highlight of the tournament.
Australia’s Teremoana Teremoana gained the quickest win of the day, triumphing over his opponent Jerry Leo (SOL) in a mere 1 minute and 18 seconds. Teremoana’s commanding performance prompted Leo’s corner to throw in the towel at the first count. Teremoana is now on a collision course with Tonga’s Amato Mataika on the path to the men’s +92 final match and Olympic quota, following Mataika’s securing a spot in the semifinals with an RSC result against Tuvalu’s A’asa Alapati Jr. in round three of an energetically contested bout.
In the men’s 51kg weight category, Australia’s Yusuf Chotia secured victory over Kiribati’s Eriu Temakau with a unanimous decision, earning a place in the semifinals where he will face Papua New Guinea’s Charles Keama (bye).
With more than 140 athletes from 17 countries participating in the boxing tournament of the 2023 Pacific Games across 25 different weight categories, including 13 Olympic weight categories, the competition serves as the Oceania continental qualifier for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. A total of 13 quota places will be distributed during the tournament, to the winners of each Olympic category.
The tournament, running from November 27th to December 2nd, will resume tomorrow, November 29. For comprehensive information and full results, including non-Olympic weight classes, please refer to the official 2023 Pacific Games website at https://www.sol2023.com.sb/. Stay tuned for further updates!