Yama, who is a nurse by profession, has been training for almost a year under Rarotonga-based trainer Graham Taylor. But lack of boxing bouts here meant the 27-year-old has been unable to put into practice what she learnt outside of the ring.
Now Yama is hoping to make up for the lost time when she takes on Avatiu’s Temata Arbuthnott in the Rumble in the Swamp.
“I met my opponent but I don’t know anything about her fighting style,” Yama said.
She took up boxing in 2016 after joining a fitness club which promoted the sport. There she took part in white collar boxing.
“White collar boxing is working class boxing where you train for eight to 12 weeks and they match you up with other boxers in this programme.”
Last year she moved to the Cook Islands to take up a nursing job at Rarotonga hospital.
After enquiring about boxing training on Facebook, she joined Tupapa Gym to train under Taylor.
“I have learnt a lot from Pops (Taylor). He is a very good trainer and I’m fortunate to train under him.”
Yama had to move to Palmerston Island for seven months because of work commitment. She returned to Rarotonga in December last year and resumed her boxing training.
Taylor said Yama was one of the most committed boxers he had trained.
“She has improved a lot and is committed herself to the sport. It’s a pity she hasn’t been able to get a chance to fight because of the lack of boxing programmes here.”
Yama versus Arbuthnott is the main supporting bout in tomorrow’s Rumble in the Swamp. In the main bout, Ngatangiia’s Liam Cowan will fight Koko Robinson of New Zealand for the Rarotonga Super Heavyweight title.
Entry fee to the event is $15 for adults (16 plus) and $70 for VIP pass.
Brisels Crighton (Muay Thai Cook Islands)-Daena Enoka (Avatiu Boxing Club) – Muay Thai; Tepou Tangata (Muay Thai Cook Islands) vs Louie Nicholas (Avatiu Boxing Club); Scholar Korua (Arai te Tonga Youth Boxing)-Maru Mataora (MTCI); BREAK – demonstration, spot prize (10 minutes); Martin Marsters (Arai te Tonga Youth Boxing)-Turai Maoate (Aitutaki Boxing club); Reece Munroe (MTCI)-James (Avatiu Boxing Club) – Muay Thai; Fred Ariu (Tupapa-Maraerenga)-Oceania Mataiti (Aitutaki Boxing Club); BREAK – cultural show, spot prize (10 minutes); Celebrity fight – Selafi-King (TBC); Bernie King (Avatiu Boxing Club)-Bjanka Radojkovi (Goodfellas Boxing, NZ); Deniro Clark (Goodfellas Boxing, NZ)-Gospel Rupena (Arai te Tonga); Sheela Yama (Tupapa – Maraerenga)-Temata Arbuthnott (Avatiu Boxing Club) (TBC); Koko Robinson (Goodfellas Boxing, NZ)-Liam Cowan (Ngatangiia Boxing Club) – Rarotonga Super Heavyweight Title.