After months on the sideline, boxers are starting to return to the ring including Mount Isa boxing champ Sunny Raitava.
Raitava, an Australian Masters gold medallist, travelled down to Caloundra on the weekend to defend his World Boxing Foundation masters heavyweight open title after winning it earlier in the year in March, but was overcome by opponent Juarne Dowling on a unanimous points decision after the five, two minute rounds concluded.
Dowling entered the contest with impressive credentials having been a two-time former professional Australian super middle weight champion.
Raitava was ahead after the first round, following a short right hand to Dowling's chin thatput him on the floor, with Dowling receiving the first count by the ref. The second and third rounds where hotly contested with both fighters punching it out.
Round four was where Raitava began to come undone with Dowling too powerful, putting Raitava on the floor twice, though beating the counts both times.
In the fifth and final round, Dowling's superior hand speed landed numerous punches, but Raitava still pushed forward at every opportunity.
"Juane's speed power and class really come through on the night, and I'm just glad I was able to get up off the floor twice during the fourth round to go on and finish the fight. I got a few in but nothing that could keep a champion like him at bay," Raitava said.
Raitava was cornered on the night by Scott Lindgren and team of Townsville's Sword and Shield Boxing where Raitava has trained previously, due to a prior commitment by Raitava's head coaches at Derrick's Boxing James and Kerry Derrick that meant they could not attend.
Of Raitava's loss, head coach James Derrick said, "Sunny is a fighter who is grateful in victory and humble in defeat, but to take it up to a former professional fighter like he did and held his own by the end of the fight, made us very proud and has given him the opportunity to fight against someone of Dowlings calibre and provide some solid learning on where he can improve".
Raitava will remain on the sideline now for the rest of the year, and instead support team Derricks Boxing in their next tournament in Townsville later this month.
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