Six Pacific countries are in Samoa for the 2018 Oceania Confederation Youth Continental Boxing Championships.
It is a three-day tournament for both men and women which will begin tomorrow.
Yesterday, the opening ceremony was held at the Fale Samoa of the Samoa Tourism Authority where Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, welcomed the different countries participating.
Prior to that the parade saw Beach Road painted in different colours representing each nation. Countries involved are Australia, American Samoa, Fiji, Nauru, French Polynesia and Samoa.
The Vice President of AIBA and President of the Oceania Confederation Boxing Championships, Ted Tanner, said the tournament is an important step for the region.
“It is a very important tournament; this is the biggest initiative that the international boxing association has ever taken in the Oceania. It is important for the qualifiers for the world youth championship and the youth Olympic games,” he said.
“But we are also conducting here a youth developing camp that has just finished and we are conducting courses for international technical official referees and coaches and also ring side doctors.”
He explained: “So this is all being done in conjunction with the tournament. It is the biggest initiative that we have taken in Oceania to develop boxing and we have come to Samoa because it is the most central location for Oceania. It is very central and it is a very welcoming environment.”
Mr. Tanner said the Apia tournament is a solid platform for the boxers involved.
“In early September the youth Championship is going to be held in Hungary and also later this year the Youth Olympic Games will be held Buenos Aires in Argentina. The winning boxers here will be qualified to go to those tournaments.
“It comes down to the National Boxing Association to enter the boxers into the world championships. It also comes down to the national Olympic committee of each nation to enter the qualified boxers into the Youth Commonwealth Games.”
Over the years there have been many changes that he has witnessed with the achievement of women who have taken boxing as a career path.
“I believe that this is the first time that Samoa has hosted the youth Championship and certainly in the past it has hosted the Oceania Championship for Youth Championships it is for the 17 and 18-year-old boxers.
“The women’s boxing is coming up to a high standard, I saw women’s boxing in Australia that started in the 1980, by the 1990s they were getting better but now they are equal with the men.”