Two Papua New Guinean boxers are one step closer to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London after the finals in their respective divisions at the Oceania boxing championships at the Australia Institute of Sports in Canberra.
The finals will be on Sunday.
As anticipated, Charlie Keamu will take on Australian champion Ward Billy of Queensland in the 49kg division for a ticket to the London Games while Junior Kauka Raka will fight another Queenslander Hoods Jackson in the 52kg final.
Speaking from Canberra, an elated coach Joe Aufa told The National that he was keeping his finger crossed and hoping things would work out for the promising PNG boxers.
Aufa said both fighters advanced to the gold medal fights after their opponents from Fiji and Samoa withdrew from the tournament which left only two fighters in their respective divisions.
“The boys have been training very well and are preparing for their big day on Sunday when they will take on the Australian champions,” he said.
He said the PNG’s other two fighters lost their bouts.
PNG captain Tom Boga was stopped in the second round by Luke Jackson who won when the referee stopped contest while Bougainvillean Henry Umins lost his bout by two points.
Aufa said Umins fought Yuana Kaisa of Samoa who came from behind to win the bout.
Umins was leading 5-3 and 11-9 in the first and second rounds but was run down in the third and final round losing 12-10.
“Overall, Umins had a good fight but the ruling by some judges let our fighters down but we did not want to appeal against the decisions as that would a sign of bad sportsmanship,” he said.
Meanwhile, PNGABU representatives John Avira, Dick Larry and Dr Gideon Kendino are in Canbera attending the Oceania Boxing congress.