The Beijing Nine - Fighting for Oz!
by Mike C. Ryan
NINE Australian boxers answer the bell this week at the Olympic Games in Beijing Workers Stadium. Queenslander Jarrod Fletcher is the first on show, as the middleweights open the action on Saturday night.
Competing in their second Olympic Games are Anthony Little, West Australian lightweight, and welterweight Gerard O’Mahony of the ACT. The aboriginal southpaw, Little snipes on the back move and his work could please the AIBA judges. O’Mahony is a seasoned craftsman.
Another aboriginal southpaw with a great future is Paul Fleming out of Townsville, in the featherweight division. Fleming won bronze in the world youth championships. Paul can drill his man while leaning back Ali-style.
Fleming and Little both see action on Monday.
Team baby Steve Sutherland fights flyweight. The bayside-Melbourne lad who turns 18 in Beijing boxes busily. Steve goes into action on Tuesday.
Victoria’s other representative is heavyweight Brad Pitt, the gold medal winner at Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006. Pitt is fast and elusive.
Daniel Beahan of Toowoomba represents us in the super-heavyweight division, over 91 kg. The big Queenslander fights with plenty of heart.
Bantamweight Luke Boyd of NSW was a two handed hitter; whether his recent time at the AIS has made him more copybook for better or for worse Beijing will tell. Boyd beat the Australian titleholder (November 2007) Nathan DiCarlo in March 2008 to gain selection.
Todd Kidd of NSW won the best boxer award in a succession of Australian Championships. He’s one of the few Australians with way over a hundred bouts. This experienced light-welterweight often outscores opponents in a single round. His division sees action on Sunday.
And British boom
The British boxers are likely to come up trumps, as they did in far-off 1956.
Their lightweight, Frankie Gavin won the bantamweights as star turn in the Commonwealth Games Melbourne 2006; he is now world amateur champion.
Their middleweight James Degale won the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo; in Commonwealth Games Melbourne he decked Jarrod Fletcher before losing an exciting duel.
The Brit super-heavy David Price and light-welter Bradley Saunders have also shown their paces in Australian rings.
Britain has eight amateurs training full time on salaries. The long lens is focussed on London 2012.
Mike C Ryan
A veteran newspaperman who has covered all departments,
but his long-lasting hobby has been to work ringside,
which he's done since the Melbourne Olympics of 1956,
right through to Madison Square Garden in 2004.
MIke went electronic for the new millennium and is now
editor of Fighter Online (www.Fighter-Online.com)
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