New Zealand super heavyweight boxer Angus Shelford's chances of representing New Zealand at the Athens Olympics have been dealt a severe blow after a medical panel ruled him out of the gold medal bout at the Oceania Boxing Championships in Tonga today.
Shelford failed to pass a medical panel this morning because of an ear infection.
But Shelford still has one lifeline left as Boxing New Zealand is appealing the eligibility of New Zealand-based professional kickboxer Doug Viney who is competing for Tonga at the championships under the name Doug Hawke.
Viney was set to be Shelford's opponent in the super heavyweight final.
Boxing NZ chairman Keith Walker told NZPA today a decision on its latest appeal to the sport's international ruling body, the Amateur International Boxing Association, was expected shortly.
"We are waiting for it with baited breath."
Earlier, Viney was given the all-clear to continue at the championships after stopping top Australian contender Justin Whitehead in their first round super heavyweight bout.
That was despite several complaints from Walker to the Oceania association, challenging Viney's amateur status.
Oceania rejected Walker's complaints about Viney because kickboxing was seen as a different code, even though Boxing NZ have no record of Viney registering as an amateur. He switched codes last week under the guidance of his Tongan kickboxing coach.
Walker said Boxing New Zealand was appealing on two grounds - the first was the question of Viney's amateur status and the second on whether he had fulfilled the five-year residency requirement for a boxer to fight for a country.
Meanwhile, two other New Zealand male boxers won their semi-final bouts at the championships.
Last night Jamie Gardner joined Soulan Pownceby in the finals when he outclassed and out boxed his Fijian opponent to take the points decision by a wide margin.
However, Kahukura Bentson lost the opportunity to enter the ring on finals night when he was defeated by a solitary point in his semi-final bout against Peter Nauka (Vanuatu).
Along with the two male boxers in action in the finals will be three New Zealand women representatives. Odette Van der Meer, Daniella Smith and Pono Rangi have all had international experience with Van der Meer and Smith having boxed at recent Women's World championships.
Results day five evening session:
Bantamweight: Stephanie Perry lost to Casey Taylor (Australia), 13-8
Lightweight: Kelly Halling lost to Kelly McGowan (Australia) RSC, outclassed
Bantamweight: Angus Donaldson lost to Joel Bunker (Australia), 34-21
Featherweight: Jamie Gardner bt Metuisila Quiakula (Fiji)
Light welter: Steven Heremaia lost to Vilami Tauika (Tonga), 25-9
Welter: Kahukura Bentson lost to Peter Nauka (Vanuatu), 36-35