Australian boxer Harry Garside.
Harry Garside has punched his ticket for next year's Olympic Games in Paris. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • boxing

Australia set to field record 12 boxers at Paris Games

Murray Wenzel December 2, 2023

Harry Garside is set to be among a record 12-strong Australian boxing contingent at the Paris Olympics after the nation enjoyed a hugely successful Pacific Games campaign.

A walkover all-but-guaranteed Garside’s place in the Olympic ring next year, where he’ll attempt to win Australia’s first Games boxing gold.

The Tokyo bronze medallist was set to fight for the quota spot in Saturday’s Pacific Games 63.5kg gold-medal bout in the Solomon Islands.

But his Fijian opponent Elia Rokobuli withdrew, gifting 26-year-old Garside an untroubled passage.

Qualified athletes will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection in line with Boxing Australia’s criteria, expected in early 2024, with official team selection taking place then.

Only five Australians boxed at the Tokyo Games in 2021 but the nation has qualified 12 for Paris 2024 after two days of finals victories in Honiara.

It means next year’s Games will eclipse London 2012 (11) as Australia’s largest boxing contingent at an Olympic Games.

Tiana Echegaray (54kg), Tyla McDonald (60kg), Callum Peters (80kg), Charlie Senior (57kg), Caitlin Parker (75kg) and Marissa Williamson Pohlman (66kg) all won gold in Honiara on Friday.

And Moniqua Suraci (50kg), Tina Rahimi (57kg), Yusuf Chothia (51kg), Shannan Davey (71kg) and Teremoana Teremoana (92kg+) joined them with convincing wins on Saturday.

Garside captured the country’s attention with a charismatic run to bronze in Tokyo.

He lost to Cuban standout Andy Cruz in the semi-final but still secured Australia’s first Olympic medal in the sport for 33 years.

Garside turned professional soon after and was 3-0 before opting to return to the amateur ranks and chase a historic gold.

“I have reached the base camp. Now the most important part of the journey,” Garside wrote on social media on Saturday morning.

“Going to do everything in my power to change that colour from bronze to gold and become the first ever Australian Olympic gold medallist for boxing.”

Australian boxer Tina Rahimi.
 Tina Rahimi hopes to follow Commonwealth Games success with Olympic glory. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS 

Former make-up artist Rahimi, who took bronze as Australia’s first Muslim female Commonwealth Games boxer in Birmingham last year, beat Tongan Feofaaki Epenisa by unanimous decision to earn a Paris 2024 quota place.

“I’ve finally qualified for Paris, I’m so amazed right now, I can’t believe I’ve actually made it,” the 27-year-old said.

“I never thought I’d actually come to this point, to be here right now is incredible.”

Teremoana said he hoped his Pacific Games gold-medal success was merely a stop en route to Olympic glory.

“It feels amazing to qualify, I set out a goal and I completed it,” he said.

“This isn’t the end goal, this is a checkpoint on it. I’m going for Olympic gold now.”