Boost for boxer
By STEVE ARCHBOLD
AFTER a career punctuated by disappointments and setbacks, Coffs Harbour boxer Daniel Baff now looks set to fulfil his untapped potential.
Daniel, 22, is one of four boxers in Australia selected for scholarships at the Institute of Sport in Canberra training under national coach Bobo Andreas.
He has been selected to fight in the light-heavyweight division joining other boxers from Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia in the AIS squad. To qualify for a scholarship Daniel had to submit a resume detailing his career and nominating which he thought were his best three bouts.
He began his stint at the AIS last week in an intensive training program aimed at the world titles in China next year.
While he is based in Canberra, Daniel will train two to three times a day and five to six days per week.
The AIS scholarship is a huge boost for his chances of representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.
Daniel could well have been fighting at the Athens Olympics this year, his bid to make the team cruelly destroyed by injury.
He had endured tremendous pain in his right hand after first sustaining the injury in November last year.
Leading up to the Olympic qualifying tournament in February, Daniel's preparation was severely disrupted.
His father, Terry, said Daniel basically couldn't train or hit a punching bag and lost his place in the Australian team to a boxer he had completely dominated in New Zealand a month earlier.
On the advice of Dr Stjohn Marsden from Urunga, Daniel had a full thumb reconstruction operation in April to repair a broken bone and ligament damage.
The operation was a complete success giving Daniel the green light to go back into full training.
Terry Baff said without the assistance of Dr Marsden, Daniel would have missed out on the chance to resurrect his career with the move to the AIS.
"As soon as he looked at Daniel's thumb he knew exactly what had to be done to fix the problem," Terry said.
Daniel has also had to endure other setbacks which have stifled his promising career.
He was considered unlucky not to make the Australian squad for the Commonwealth Games team in 2002 where Paul Miller went on to win a gold medal in Daniel's weight division.
Miller has since turned professional and is unbeaten in five fights.
Another indication of Daniel's ability is his record against recent PABA super middleweight title winner Daniel Lovett who he has beaten three times in the past two years.