Kiribati boxers packing a punch despite odds

Even Anthony Joshua would struggle to beat the world's best faced with the hardships confronting Kiribati's Commonwealth Games boxers.

While Britain's undefeated heavyweight world champion counts the millions from Saturday's win over New Zealander Joseph Parker, Kiribati's boxers have had to prepare without even a boxing ring.

"We make do outside or in a house as our ring is broken at the moment," said Tekamwi Rabaere, coach of the two boxers representing the Pacific Ocean island in Australia's Gold Coast.

"We try to design a ring, but it is not the same."

Worse still, the tiny nation has just two pairs of useable boxing gloves.

"When we spar we share the gloves with everyone," added Rabaere, saying that while Kiribati -- population 115,000 -- is woefully short of facilities and equipment, they have plenty of talented boxers.

"If we have more capacity, more gloves, more rings and better coaches, it will encourage many more to come and train," said Rabaere.

No matter how Tevii Steven and Betero Aaree fare in Australia -- and they will not be expected to get far in the tournament -- Rabaere believes they can inspire others back home.

"For our two boxers, the Commonwealth Games is the best exposure to different fighters and different styles and techniques," he said ahead of Wednesday's opening ceremony.

"It is really important for our two guys to share their knowledge and teach everyone what they learn when they go back home."

 

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