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Pacific Games title secures Peters’ ticket to Paris

Andrew Mathieson -

The 2024 Olympic Games are still another 239 days away before the first punch inside the ring is thrown, however Callum Peters was able to down his gloves on Friday afternoon to circle the date on his calendar.

Peters is one of the first Australians of any sport – that includes five of his boxing compatriots – to have booked tickets for Paris to represent their nation from July 27.

Additionally teammates and good friends beyond the ropes, Marissa Williamson Pohlman and the 21-year-old Peters are also the first two Indigenous Olympians confirmed.

But the reality of the occasion was still slowly sinking in for Peters hours after the fight.

"The ticket to Paris is in my hands – it's freaky," he said, via Australian Olympics.

"I feel like I'm dreaming."

Australia won all but one of its seven boxing finals on the penultimate day of the 2023 Pacific Games competition, but no gold medals were expected more than perhaps Peters' claim to safeguard his seat on the plane.

The middleweight secured the one quota spot reserved for Oceania in the 80-kilogram weight class across the 124 spots in each of the men and women's draws.

The fighter from the North Central club out of Kapunda in the Barossa Valley performed like a classy wine from the region.

Roman Viney seemed to struggle avoid being hit across the three rounds of the final.

Peters was able to corner the Tongan for long periods and pick off flush shots to the head with sheer ease.

Even when Viney fought back with wild punches, Peters counteracted with body blows to score points at will.

"I'm so proud all of this hard work is paying off; 11 years now in the ring," Peters said.

"I finally get the chance to represent my country (at the Olympics) and my people.

"All my thanks to mum and dad, and the boys back home (who are) always helping and supporting me, even when times are hard.

"I can't wait to see you and celebrate."

Parents Bradley and Cassie Peters calmly watched the Pacific final from their lounge room in the family home, barely raising their voices in a video they shared online.

It was just a confident sign that all the preparation had been done before departing for the Solomon Islands.

The unanimous-points decision over Viney for the gold has gone some way towards redressing the controversial loss Peters suffered in the 2022 Commonwealth Games middleweight final after judges awarded the fight to Scotland's Sam Hickey 29-28.

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