The trials, which end on Friday, will see some of the country’s best fighters battle it out for places on national coach Joe Aufa’s team.
Papua New Guinea Amateur Boxing Union (PNGABU) president John Avira said the four-day event would be the final selection trial to pick the Games team and said form would count at the competition for fighters whether they were experienced or not.
Avira said those elite boxers who had been dominating the scene would have to work hard to protect their spots as new talent was coming out of the provinces as seen at last year’s PNG games in Lae.
Despite the union having already pencilled in names for the majority of spots, Avira said strong performances by those outside the squad could see changes to the final team.
Most of the country’s elite boxers are from National Capital District, which is the national champion association, the Kairuku association, in Central, and the sport’s other stronghold – Bougainville.
Avira said he expected fighters from Lae, Enga, Mt Hagen, host town Goroka and Southern Highlands, Jiwaka and Chimbu to put up strong challenges in their home region.
He said the PNG Games last November unearthed several prospects such as Engan heavyweight Leo Kondai.
Coach Aufa agreed with Avira, saying that although they had an elite squad but any fighter who showed they had the talent and were competitive could find themselves in the national squad for the Games.
Aufa said the national squad had fighters of the calibre of national title holders in Charlie Keama (49kg), Junior Kauko Raka (54kg), Tom Boga (56kg) and Lennox Kunsi (64kg) but they would still need to be focused and give their best at the national event as they would not get another opportunity to face the best from the rest of the country again in 2015.
In the women’s division former national sprinter Raphaela Kaore (64kg), Lynette Kwarula (69kg), Philo Idau (57kg), Larni Sorma (60kg) and Christina Ikupu (75kg) are tipped to do well but can expect tough bouts against some rugged fighters from the Highlands.