'I want to bring together my country and my people': Mandurah Indigenous boxer gears up for debut Olympic fight

The Australia Olympics boxing team in training. Photo: Boxing Australia.

The Australia Olympics boxing team in training. Photo: Boxing Australia.

Mandurah boxer Alex Winwood has landed in Tokyo for his Olympic debut and his coach says he has a good chance for gold.

"He's fought some of the top in the world, he's got experience behind him now," said Mandurah coach Brian Sartori, from Eureka Boxing Club.

WINNING MOMENTS: Alex Winwood after his final qualifying fight gaining entry into the Olympics. Photo: Brian Sartori.

WINNING MOMENTS: Alex Winwood after his final qualifying fight gaining entry into the Olympics. Photo: Brian Sartori.

"There are 28 in his division and I'm confident he can match it with any one of those 28.

"All things being equal, Alex has a good chance.

"But in Olympics, once you're beaten, you're out, there are no second chances so it will be a bit of the luck of the draw, they're all good fighters."

Winwood's first fight will be on July 28.

Related:

He made national headlines in May when he became the first Indigenous Australian announced to represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics.

He joins six other Australians on the Olympic boxing team with Skye Nicolson and Perth woman Caitlin Parker to contest the women's feather and middle weight classes respectively, and Paulo Aokuso, Harry Garside, Justis Huni and Winwood to contest the men's light-heavyweight, lightweight, super heavyweight and flyweight divisions.

DEBUT: Alex Winwood (second from right) leaves Colorado with Australia's Olympic boxing team. Photo: Alex Winwood/Instagram

DEBUT: Alex Winwood (second from right) leaves Colorado with Australia's Olympic boxing team. Photo: Alex Winwood/Instagram

Before Tokyo, most of the team attended a 10-week training camp in Queensland followed by three weeks of training in Colorado, United States.

While in Queensland, Winwood told the Mail he would be representing the people of Australia and his Ngoongar people.

"I want to bring everyone together, my country and my people at the same time," Winwood said.

"I love that they're bringing athletes together, especially Indigenous athletes, so we can spread our heritage and our stories through the Olympics."

Sartori said the preparation time had been long for Winwood.

Alex Winwood wins against a fighter from Hong Kong in the qualifiers in Jordan. Photo: Screenshot.

Alex Winwood wins against a fighter from Hong Kong in the qualifiers in Jordan. Photo: Screenshot.

"It's been solid with a run in the morning, strength and conditioning at midday and boxing in the evening," Sartori said.

But the training was a reflection of an equally grueling qualification process, he said.

"You have to finish in the top five or six in Asia to qualify for the Olympics, depending on which division.

"The days of just winning Australian title are long gone - it's a harder preparation which might be a good thing in the long run."

A highlight of training was a couple of sparring sessions with former super flyweight world title holder Andrew Malone.

Sartori said Winwood spoke highly of his camaraderie with the rest of the boxing team and was looking forward to meeting more of the 472-strong Australian Olympics team, which was unveiled this week.

He said Winwood was especially close with lightweight Garside.

"They've gone to world championships before and have travelled a lot together. They've been working together three times a day and have gotten very close. They're really good mates," Sartori said.