Pub brawl to glory
By Louis Feliu
MURWILLUMBAH boxer Daniel Fletcher scored the first tournament win of his fledgling career last weekend - with only one fight.
The 19-year-old amateur won the Golden Gloves award in the 81kilogram division of the Australian Boxing Association's Australasian Open Tournament held at the Pine Rivers Memorial Bowls Club in Queensland.
Fletcher beat big NSW Central Coast boxer Nathan McMahon on points in the his first drawn fight on Saturday night but as he was preparing to fight the final on Sunday, his opponent pulled out at the last minute, giving him the default win and the coveted award without having landed a punch.
It was Fletcher's first fight with Dungay-based trainer Henry Prowse and his Team Tomewin and the fourth fight of his amateur career.
Prowse described his charge's preparation for the tournament as "colourful" with several false starts disrupting his fighting program this year.
Fletcher, who has been with Prowse for almost 18 months, could not fight for a month after he was attacked and beaten up in August by a gang of six drunken louts at a Gold Coast hotel where he worked as a barman.
"He was beaten unconscious and couldn't fight for a month. He was supposed to fight in Lismore but couldn't, then he had a fight in Ballina which was cancelled and another one at Port Macquarie he couldn't make it to, so it's been all stops and starts," Prowse said.
Fletcher, an orthodox-stance fighter who started boxing several years ago as a form of fitness training while playing for the Murwillumbah Mustangs junior rugby league team, said he felt terrific after winning the national Golden Gloves award.
The award is seen by many pundits as a first step toward selection for the Commonwealth and Olympic games.
"I'll try and go as far as I can but I'll take each fight as they come," Fletcher said.
Prowse was as proud as punch for his student, saying the tournament win in his fourth fight was a great achievement.
"He worked hard for it and deserved it," Prowse said.
Fletcher, who named Australian champions Danny Green and Kostya Tszyu as his favourite boxers, said he was now aiming to fight in the middleweight division (up to 75kg) as his current 81kg division (light heavyweight) brought him up against some "very big men".
"When I'm fully fit that would be my fighting weight," he said.