Photo: Gyan Athalae (left) and Kautoa Roddy slug it out in the 60kg (lightweight) final last Saturday night. 09092613
Heavyweight Vengi Hagai was unable to produce the dream win for the Cooks at Pacific Mini Games boxing finals at the National Auditorium on Saturday night.
Hagai was the sole home boxer in the ring, and he came up against southpaw Tahitian Richardet Mahanora in a tight 91kg division bout.
There was no scoring in the first round, even though it appeared that the Tahitian had tagged Hagai a couple of times.
Hagai tried to connect with his left hook throughout but he was tired by the middle of the second round. It was during this period that Mahanora scored the only point during the match which won him the gold.
Actually Hagai wasn’t the only Cook Islands boxer to be involved in the finals. A Teariki Samuel was to have fronted in the 51kg division. However, the mystery boxer did not and Samoan Kaisa Ioane won by a walkover.
In the 54kg bantamweight fight Jason Tuiha’a from Tahiti edged Sinapapa Sanele from Samoa to win 3-2.
However, the second Tahitian in the ring, Vatea Bossuet was not so fortunate in the 57kg clash against Colan Caleb from Nauru. Bossuet led 2-0 in the first round but the Nauruan came back to lead 3-2 in the second, and then take out the match 5-2.
The bout between Gyan Athalae (New Caledonia) and Kautoa Roddy (Kiribati) in the 60kg class was a classic. After no scoring in the first round, Athalae scored once in the second, and then kept ahead in the third to win a close one 2-1.
If spectators thought the previous fight was good, the 64kg final between Inoma Livai (Samoa) and Jean-Louis Albertini (Tahiti Nui) was a thriller. Both boxers exchanged flurries right throughout, with the Tahitian leading 3-0 in the first. But Livai clawed his way back and lead 4-3 with just seconds to go, before Albertini levelled the scores just before the bell. In the end, a decision was given to Albertini in the blue corner.
Joseph Deireragea won Nauru’s second gold medal of the night with a cat-and-mouse victory over Albert Temaititahio (Tahiti Nui) in the 69kg category.
Afaese Fata Kalepi from Samoa showed his class in an eagerly-awaited 75kg division clash against Andrew Kometa (Kiribati). Fata Kalepi displayed excellent combinations and put up a solid guard which Kometa found hard to pierce – the Samoan eventually winning 7-2.
America Samoa’s sole representative Feleauto Manutulila beat Tahiti’s Puaiura Ta’aroa in the 81kg final – both boxers putting in punch and counter punch. With the score 3-all after the second round, both boxers stood toe-to-toe for almost the entire third round, with Manutulila winning 5-3 in the end.
Talk about saving the best for last, the super heavyweight bout (91+kg) between Tafai Nena (Tahiti) and Jake Ageidu from Nauru, was the fight of the night in terms of action, points and standing counts. Ageidu went ahead 6-0 and put a standing count on Nena in the first round.
He put another count on Nena before getting one back in return and having penalty points go against him, for the Tahitian to draw even at 8-all at the end of the second.
It was then punch for punch in the third, with the Tahitian then conceding penalty points for Ageidu to draw level at 12-all. Nena then got a right hand in to edge out the Nauruan for gold.
During the night, a special presentation of life membership was awarded to long-time local stalwart Jim Little by the international boxing association, AIBA. - Moana Moekaa: Cook Islands News
Last Modified on 30/09/2009 07:37