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Watch: Teen Maltese boxer dreams of Olympic glory

17-year-old Miguel Cauchi wants to step to the top

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Miguel Cauchi, who is 17, has a steely determination to be the first boxer to represent Malta at the Olympic Games.

Unlike professional boxing, which can last up to 12 rounds, Olympic boxing is a much speedier affair, with three bouts of three minutes each.

Mr Cauchi’s trainer, Steve Abela, points out that many of the boxing greats, like Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson, started their careers in the Olympic ring.

“Boxing is a noble sport. It helps athletes take care of their health, mind and spirit. It helps you stay focused. You can’t be out there drinking and partying.

“You need a clear mind. It keeps people away from drugs. You can’t be cheeky. Boxing makes you more humble. It is like a game of chess which is 90 per cent brains and 10 per cent brawn,” he says.

Boxing is a noble sport. It helps athletes take care of their health, mind and spirit

Watching Mr Cauchi dance around the ring, overwhelming his opponents with his sheer speed, does demonstrate there is more to the sport than wildly throwing punches to knock down your opponent.

Olympic boxing in Malta has had its ups and downs over the years.

Mr Abela, an executive member of the local boxing federation, says Malta has had a rocky relationship with the International Boxing Association, having been disqualified a number of times due to organisational issues.

There is a desperate need for more manpower and finances in the local Olympic boxing scene, Mr Abela remarks.

Miquel Cauchi hopes to be Malta’s first Olympic boxing representative. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaMiquel Cauchi hopes to be Malta’s first Olympic boxing representative. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

He has already accompanied his protégé on one fight in Russia, where the Maltese boxer was pitted against an experienced fighter with 65 bouts under his belt. Mr Cauchi, who up to that point had only fought twice locally, held his own against his more experienced opponent.

“I have been training for four years now. The plan is to keep on at it so I can represent Malta in the Olympics,” he says.

Mr Cauchi manages to juggle an advanced diploma in sports and a gruelling training regime which sees him exercising three times a day, in the early morning, afternoon and evening.

He has words of praise for his lecturers at Mcast, who run on a flexible timetable that allows students to continue their exercise regimes.

Mr Cauchi realises the difficulty in making a career in boxing locally. His aim is to compete in as many fights abroad as possible to qualify for the Olympics.

He is very appreciative of his parents’ continued support.

Funding is hard to come by. Mr Abela believes the Maltese excel in individual sports but tend to fall apart when put together in a team.

He says Malta has boxing talent which needs nurturing. His aim is for the local boxing federation to start a school outreach programme to compel youngsters to give boxing a shot.

He appeals to all those willing to help Olympic boxing in Malta get off the ground to contact the boxing federation, which operates from the Lord’s Boxing Gym in St Julian’s.

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