A GROUP of South Pacific boxers returned to Kendal this week as their pre-Olympic training gathered pace.

In July four boxers from Nauru, the world’s smallest republic, trained intensively at Kendal Dojo to give them hope of competing at London 2012.

And two of the team - Joseph Deireragea, 23, and Colin Caleb, 21 - have returned for three weeks in the build up to an AIBA training camp in Cardiff.

In September Deireragea collected a silver medal at the South Pacific Games and a month later competed at the World Championships in Azerbaijan.

He said: “After the championships in Azerbaijan, me and Colin were invited to an AIBA training camp and we were the only two from the South Pacific to be called. We can certainly see how we have progressed and we hope to keep improving our skills in Kendal.”

Following the camp in Cardiff, the duo will head to Canberra, Australia for the Oceania Olympic trials in March.

Team coach Tim Ika said the youngsters had shot to fame in boxing circles through the media coverage that was sent to the South Pacific in the summer.

He added: “The experience and training we have had at the Dojo has helped us to get set up and provide a more organised programme in Nauru. Kids in the local schools can select an Olympic sport to do on a certain day and while we used to have around 15 get involved, numbers have risen to 40 and it is hoped to be rolled out in all the schools in Nauru.”

Ika said that by the time the Cardiff camp comes around Deireragea and Caleb should have acclimatised to the conditions, and said he hoped the team saw some snow during this visit.

He added: “The first camp was such a success and we are delighted we can follow it up now. When Joseph went to the world championships, he was one of just eight boxers to complete all three rounds of his contest, from the 48 boxers entered.

“We won six medals at the South Pacific Games and the work we can do here means we can only progress.”

To finish their camp, under the guidance of former Team GB national performance boxing coach Ian Irwin, the Nauruans will compete against North West boxers in a contest at Kendal Dojo on Friday, February 17.

* Information: Kendal Dojo, tel Mike Liptrot, 07708 968194.