Namibia: Jonas Faces Ballet-Dancing Plumber

NAMIBIAN boxer Jonas Junias Jonas will face a tough opponent in Australia’s Harry Garside as he kicks off his Olympics campaign in Tokyo on Saturday.

Jonas, second-seeded for the competition, was given a first-round bye and will now face Garside, who defeated Papua New Guinea’s John Ume 5-0 in a one-sided first-round win.

Jonas’s high placing for the competition has a lot to do with his gold medal in the 64kg light welterweight category at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, but in Garside he will face another gold medalist at the Gold Coast Games.

Garside won gold in the 60kg lightweight category, but since then the two categories have been combined with the result that the lightweights are now also competing in the light welterweight category.

Whether the gain in weight will affect his performance remains to be seen, but Jonas can expect an extremely dedicated and rather unusual fighter in Garside.

According to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website, the 24-year-old Australian, whose permanent job is a plumber, even took ballet lessons after his mother bought him vouchers two years ago.

“I’m not going to lie – I’ve always wanted to try ballet. I say I do it for boxing, but actually I’ve always wanted to dance,” ABC’s Russell Jackson said after his first round win against Ume on Sunday.

“Like Garside’s early moves in boxing, the ballet was a failure at first, but he stuck with it. A few bouts later, he said his footwork, coordination and thinking all changed for the better,” Jackson added.

Garside was a slow starter, losing 10 of his first 18 amateur fights, but his trainer Brian Levier, who started training him at age nine, was impressed by his dedication, telling Leader News in 2017: “I’ve never had a kid. seen “as devoted as Harry.”

That was after another setback when he failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, but he continued to train and two years later he won Commonwealth gold as a complete outsider.

Since then he has become quite a popular and admired boxer in Australia where he has addressed and inspired boxers at other boxing schools.

In addition to Garside, there are several other tough opponents in light welterweight who will be pursuing their chances at the Olympics.

They include the highest placed Sofiane Oumiha of France, who won a silver medal in the lightweight category at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as a gold medal at the 2017 World Amateur Championships.