Back in time! Top trainer for Ve

One of Fiji’s well-known boxers Sakaraia Ve trains at the Raiwai-Raiwaqa Gymnasium in 1981. Picture: FILE

The boxing fraternity was abuzz with news that Fiji’s “Golden Boy” and boxing idol Sakaraia Ve was to be trained by one of Australia’s leading trainers, Jack Rennie.

A report was published in The Fiji Times on December 17, 1981.

According to the article, Rennie — who had already trained a world boxing title winner — had talks with Ve’s manager Bob Lateef who was on holiday in Australia. Rennie had said he was willing to come over but it depended on the time his services were required.

Rennie had gained recognition in the boxing circles after training former world bantamweight champion Lionel Rose and his boxing club in Melbourne drew in fighters from across Australia. He had said he would “love to come to Fiji to train Ve for his future fights” but he would have to be notified in advance because he was usually busy with his own club.

Rennie went on to say that it would be easier for him if Ve travelled to Australia to fight. Asked what he knew of Ve, Rennie said most boxing trainers knew of him and that the Fijian fighter had quite a reputation in Australia.

Rennie said Ve had recorded many wins over Australian fighters and was well known in Australia.

Talking about other Fijian fighters in Australia, Rennie said they were all “good boys who trained very hard and were dedicated with lots of guts”.

The Australian trainer said he had not had a Fijian boxer under his wings, however, most of them trained and fought in Sydney clubs.

Lateef said his reason for approaching Rennie was to get an experienced professional to help Ve get a shot at a world title.

“Rennie has to be the best around. If he has trained a boxer to win a world title, that’s what we are after,” Lateef added.

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