From left, Charles Keama and Ivan Pavich in action during the Men’s Fly (52kg). Photo: Melissa AdamsShattered at having his Commonwealth Games dream ripped away from him, Gosford boxer Josh English debated giving the sport away.
He is relieved he didn’t after booking a spot on Australia’s world championship squad with a walkover win at the Oceania championships in Canberra on Sunday.
The 23-year-old didn’t have to set foot in the ring for the 49kg division final after Papua New Guinean Charlie Keama opted to fight in the 52kg class, which he won.
It was an anti-climax, but English is happy he pressed on with his career and booked his world championships place at Doha in five weeks.
English made the squad for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but he missed out after women’s boxing was introduced to the schedule for the first time.
“I made the team but because women’s boxing was entered, they had to cut two weight divisions out of the men,” he said.
“They cut mine and the 64kg division, the two they thought would be the toughest to win medals in. I was planning on giving it away but the start of the year I had a chat with a close friend and decided to set my goals on the world championships.
“I didn’t fight today but the goal was to get a ticket to the world championships, so the result was the same.”
After failing to win a single medal four years earlier, Australia won two gold and a silver at Glasgow last year, coach Kevin Smith’s first big tournament at the helm.
English is confident he can press for a medal at Doha, which would guarantee him an Olympics spot next year. “You have to medal over there to qualify automatically, but I’m confident at my best I can beat anyone,” he said.
“It [Australian boxing] is on the way back, especially with Kevin as coach, he’s doing good things and is very knowledgeable with his experience.”
OCEANIA CHAMPIONSHIPS FINALS
56kg: Boe Warawara (Van) bt Jayden Hansen (Aus)
81kg: Aaron Spagnolo (Aus) bt Pasefika Iti (Asa)
60kg: Chad Milnes (NZ) bt Joshua Keirl (Aus)
52kg: Charles Keama (PNG) bt Ivan Pavich (NZ)
Over 91kg: Joe Goodall (Aus) bt Patrick Mailata (NZ)
91kg: David Nykia (NZ) bt Jason Whateley (Aus)
75kg: Daniel Lewis (Aus) bt Jonathan Keama (PNG)
69kg: Joshua Nykia (NZ) bt Nathan Webber (Aus)
64kg: David Biddle (Aus) bt Colan Caleb (NRU)