Commonwealth Games refugee set for boxing debut in Canberra


Fosso won bronze in the +91 kilogram division at the 2017 world championships and was soon named the captain of Cameroon’s 2018 Commonwealth Games boxing team – and vice-captain for the country’s entire squad.

With that came a responsibility he simply could not bring himself to take on, speaking softly when revealing why.

“I had a heavy duty as vice-captain of the whole Commonwealth Games team. One of my duties as captain was to denounce homosexuals in the team, and it is something I could not do,” Fosso said as he spoke through a translator.

“Secondly, [I stayed behind] because of my entitlement in the national team. Some of the entitlements that were supposed to be given were not given, and I said that to the media which the government was not happy about. I had to leave.


The group is being assisted by a registered migration agent in the ACT, Liz Huang Hughes-Brown of Welcome Legal.

The athletes had made claims for protection “which fall within the eligibility criteria for Australia to grant them protection”, however four out of five applications have been denied.

The super heavyweight boxer is among a group now appealing the decision. If that fails, the group will explore the possibility of applying for distinguished talent visas on account of their desire to represent Australia in sport.

The Department of Home Affairs has stated the vast majority of individuals who came to Australia for April’s Commonwealth Games have long departed, but they are aware of some individuals that have remained.

Exact numbers of those that remain in Australia have not been confirmed, but the department’s desire to look strong on border protection has seen them take a harsh stance towards the athletes.

If the reception he gets every time he walks into the Stockade Training Centre is anything to go by, the community wants Fosso to stay.

“I am just pleading with the government to go through my file again, because the first time I was rejected,” Fosso said.

“What they want me to do at home is something that is not normal for me, and that is to play the role of a spy, that is not something I would love to do.

“I am really proud of my welcome from these people [in Canberra]. Everything has been going smoothly, and they are very happy to have us around.”

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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