BRIAN Agina fought at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games eight months ago.
Now the Kenyan teenager is facing a different battle as he seeks asylum in Australia.
Agina, 18, has settled in Warrrnambool on a bridging visa, filling his hours with training, church and two jobs.
The Victorian seaside town, despite its cold and windy weather, has become his sanctuary.
He works full-time at Clinton Baulch Motor Group and once a week at Connor’s Fish and Chips, sending money from that gig back to his grandmother in Africa.
Agina, who lost to Pakistan’s Syeh Muhammad in the opening round of the Commonwealth Games in April, remains committed to his sport.
He works on his craft with Warrnambool boxing coach Rodney ‘Rudy’ Ryan, who has provided him with a home away from home.
“I have found a home here, a new family and I still have my family back there and I still love them,” Agina told The Standard.
“It is a good place and Rudy’s found me a job at Clinton Baulch’s and I still do my boxing.
“For now I am fighting as an amateur and my plan is to turn professional.”
The 160-centimetre Agina fought at the Commonwealth Games in the 52-kilogram class.
He was one of seven Kenyan fighters to compete but the only one to seek asylum.
Agina said his birth country instilled his love of boxing.
“I think it is good in Kenya. People love boxing,” he said.
“In Africa we are like top five in boxing. I started fighting at 15 years but I started going to a gym when I was 14.”
Ryan said Agina, who has had two amateur fights for him for two wins, said Agina spent his first weeks in Australia in Melbourne with an elderly lady who offered respite for refugees.
A visit to Warrnambool sparked the possibility of moving to the south-west permanently.
He’s been here five months and now fights on the same cards as Ryan’s daughter Stella.
“Brian came for a weekend, ended up staying for two weeks, went back to Melbourne and pretty much packed his stuff and came back,” he said.
“His bridging visa is on appeal at the moment. His initial residency application got knocked back which happens every time.
“Now we’re waiting for an appeal to go ahead but in the meantime he’s making a go of it in Warrnambool.”
Ryan said Agina handled the uncertaintly well and had thrown his energy into his boxing.
He said the pint-sized fighter was fast, hit hard and boasted good movement.
“It’s been great having Brian in the gym because he’s got such a high-quality skill set, plus he’s fit, does all the right things and he can fight,” he said.
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