Royal Navy Boxers have trip of a lifetime

Storyline: Boxing

Eighteen Sailors and Marines of the Royal Navy Boxing Association have returned from a once in a lifetime trip to Fiji where they fought against members of the Fijian Army and National Boxing team.

The boxers spent the two week visit in Fiji’s capital, Suva, at the invitation of the chairman of the Fiji Amateur Boxing Association, Manasa Baravilala, who wanted to show support for ‘Fiji’s historical ties to The Crown, British Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force’ and for the ‘Fijians [who] have enlisted, served and been honourably discharged.’

The team engaged in daily training sessions and took the opportunity to get some rounds under their belt against unique opponents. Head coach PO Nick McGarry said: ‘It’s a good culture and lifestyle and a completely different style of boxing.’

AB Alex Burbury, who joined the squad this season and fought twice against the Fijians agreed: ‘You’ve got to have heart to fight Fijians, they don’t stop coming.’

A highlight of the visit was the interaction with the Fijian boxers and their families who came out in force to support the squads from both sides of the Commonwealth. As the families turned out for the events, there was singing, photos and a great sense of camaraderie.

Over the course of the trip, eleven Royal Navy boxers fought against the Fijian Army, securing six victories in total and five boxers fought against the National team, leaving with two wins.

Alongside the boxers were also service coaches and referees, who have been working hard in support of the squad’s endeavours during the season. Outside of coaching, training and sparring, the team took some well-earned downtime with tours of Sydney Harbour, scuba diving with sharks or spending time on the beach. ET Billie Matthews, captain of the development team said: ‘The beach was unreal! Fiji was like something from Jurassic Park.’

It’s a good culture and lifestyle and a completely different style of boxing.

PO Nick McGarry