Heavyweight boxer Regarn Simbwa is starting to make a name for himself in Australian boxing after taking out the Boxing NSW King of the Ring title in Penrith.
Wagga-based Simbwa won a unanimous points decision against Cabramatta's Malcolm Matthes, who fought at the Youth Olympics and world championships last year, to claim victory in the 91kg elite men's final.
"I was happy. I went well. He went to the world games (for Samoa) but I boxed well. In the second round, they counted him," Simbwa said.
His opponent continued but couldn't handle the tall and talented Simbwa, who was thrilled to claim the prize.
The 22-year-old qualified a week earlier, beating two boxers who are headed to the Australian championships, Ben Bradley (ACT) and Luke Thompson (NSW).
That's where this former Uganda Commonwealth Games representative would love to be headed.
"I want to give it a chance to go to nationals. That's my dream. I want to go to the Olympics for Australia," Simbwa said.
"I need to be a citizen but I'm not yet. But I wanted the chance to go to nationals."
Simbwa has now had five wins from five fights since joining Wagga's Barefoot Boxing gym under Tony Abbott.
His coach has had contact from Boxing Australia officials interested in Simbwa's immigration status and Abbott said the King of the Ring result will help command attention.
But his star pupil is as humble as they come, and keen to learn.
"To be honest, when he first come, I thought, 'Geez, what am I going to be able to teach him?'," Abbott said.
"But there's been things we've been able to improve on, we've increased his power and his ring-craft. And how to use the obvious advantage of his height.
"He's a really good kid, he's a great part of the team, he's not arrogant at all, and that's been noticed in the boxing community as well."
Simbwa, at 87kg, still has some room to move in the weight division, hence the focus on strength.
And he has a hunger to continue his boxing education.
"When I came to this gym, I didn't have the power," Simbwa said.
"And Tony is giving me a lot of techniques. Before, I was just chasing my opponent but now I can cut off the ring, and I got the 'best technical boxer' in Woy Woy (at a fight night leading up to the King of the Ring)."
Simbwa will fight in Canberra later this month and then head to the Golden Gloves in Brisbane. Abbott hopes to find around 10 fights a year for him as they continue to work towards that goal of a green and gold opportunity.