Title contenders showcase Warrnambool’s prowess in ring

TWO Warrnambool boxers will attempt to claim breakthrough Victorian titles when they take to the ring tomorrow.

Luci Hand and Bianca Fary will carry the hopes of the region at the final day of Boxing Victoria state finals at Parkville’s Reggio Calabria Club.

The Rodney Ryan-coached pair have this week put the finishing touches on their preparations for their bouts.

Hand, 23, is up against Carly Salmon in the 54kg elite division in what will be her biggest fight since taking up boxing 12 months ago.

Fary, 26, will take on Simone Bailey, one of Australia’s most renowned female boxers, in the 57kg elite division. Ryan said he was confident the pair would hold their own against the reigning Victorian titleholders over four two-minute rounds.

He said victories would book them a berth at Boxing Australia national championships in Perth in April.

“Both girls have proved they’re up to this level. They’ve fought at this level already,” he said.

“It’s who brings it on the day and who has the best game plan. I’m really excited for them both.

“If they get through they get to go to national titles and to win a national title is huge.”

Ryan said Hand had boxed for just 12 months but had entered the ring nine times. 

“She’s never had an easy fight. Her first fight was in novice and the other girl is now fighting in the 60 in the elite,” he said.

Fary, meanwhile, has honed her craft over two years and, like Hand, has enjoyed a rapid rise in the sport. She is gunning for a third consecutive state title having won in the novice and intermediate divisions the past two years.

“She challenged herself to get to that next level and she’s come down in the weights,” Ryan said. 

“She had her first fight at 64kg and she’s down to 57. And Luci is the same, she had her first fight at 61 and she’s come down seven.

“Both girls eat perfectly and they train two hours every morning and two hours every night.”

Two victories would mean four state titles in four weeks for the region — potentially a record for a single year.

Warrnambool teen Jyl Wright won the intermediate 69kg junior championship on November 10, while Koroit’s Jason O’Grady backed up the feat by claiming the intermediate 81kg final last Sunday.

Both boxers are products of Koroit coach Lyndon Edney.

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