THIS is a description of my observation of the night I spent at a hotel for an event (more like a journal entry).
I turned up at Lamana Hotel’s Gold Club, in Port Moresby, the so-called South Pacific Capital, on Saturday night, May 31.
No, I was not there to party but to report on the boxing bouts scheduled “to be fought”.
Although it was not my first time to be at Lamana at night, it was my first time to sit through not just one boxing match – but 12 separate bouts, including 9 international fights, three of those were for female fighters.
(The last night I was there was last year for the French National Day celebration.)
The fights were between some of our best national boxers and a team of Queensland/Australian champions. (I thoroughly enjoyed watching the fighters in action and appreciated the sport a bit more.)
The Team PNG Manager pulled up a ringside chair for me, just beside where the master of ceremony sat.
As soon as I made myself comfortable with my notepad and pen on the table, I started clicking the shutter button of my camera taking shot after shot of people and the fighters until the battery of that first camera died and I switched to using the second – that was probably after the 10th bout.
Photo: Queensland and Australian champion Skye Nicolson (right) in action against PNG’s Anette Kora in the women’s 60kg category.
I observed some interesting things.
Firstly, some women there can really scream as supporters – even if their language skills are not good.
There was one at our back who was screaming really loud for the PNG fighters to “kill somebody” – at times laughing and saying “oh oh oh” really loud when a PNG fighter made some good punches.
Then all of a sudden, she said “cut the craps” to someone.
For a moment I was thinking – did she mean “cut the crap”?
But then she went on hollering nonetheless.
Secondly, a little later, there was another lady who was screaming for a relative, I think. She sounded a bit funny.
But then the swearing stuff came on – and I found it quite frightening; from the way she was going, she thought that was good.
I did not say anything because it was my first night to watch a fight at that particular place and thought such attitude was accepted.
Oh, yeah, thirdly, there was this white guy (possibly in his 50s) who was booing the Australians and saying “Come on PNG, come on PNG” – and making some of the most illogical comments. (I assumed that he is originally from Australia.)
Some of the Queensland fighters who participated were Australian champions, as well as world-class fighters. (I know at least one female fighter is world-class, possibly in the top 5 in her division in the world.)
The three PNG girls who fought lost their fights but that would help them prepare for the Commonwealth Games next month and the Pacific Games next year.
Three of our local boys won their international fights, including the PNG fighter in the main/final bout of the night, Henry Umings who beat sixteen-year-old Queensland and Australian champion, Jesse Travers, in the 64kg bout.
There were two local females close by who were observing Travers and after the fight when he took off his head guard, the women said: “Ey, look at him, he is just a kid.”
And yes, Travers is just a kid but he is the Queensland champion.
Last year when he was 15, Travers became the Australian champion by topping his weight category in the Golden Gloves tournament.
On Saturday night, Travers’ elder brother Luke fought earlier in the 75kg and won his fight.
Overall, I enjoyed the night ... hopefully we get behind our young people and get them involved in the sport too.