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Aussie Olympic fighters boxing strong
Andy Drummond
01:20 AEST Sun Jul 22 2012

Australia's Olympic boxing team has overcome initial disruption to Games preparations to present a united front a week out from competition.

The team of 11, including Australia's first female Olympic boxer Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen, has been training in Belfast since Tuesday and section manager Phillip Goodes said the squad is sharp and focused.

"We're focused on more short and explosive training now. All the hard work has been done back in Australia and it's coming together well," Goodes told AAP on Saturday.

The Australians paired up with fighters from Ecuador's Olympic team on Friday for some light sparring work.

"Those boys will be the opposition as well, depending on the draw, so even though it was only some light partner work, it was a confidence boost for our boys to make a good showing," Goodes said.

The Australian team's preparations haven't all been smooth with medal prospect Damien Hooper removed from the Canberra training camp mid-June after a series of unspecified behavioural breaches involving coaches and fellow squad members.

Schoolboy heavyweight Jai Opetaia, 17, was banned from the team's earlier seven-week European tour for missing 19 training sessions before the Oceania championships in March.

He eventually re-joined the squad in Canberra along with his father and trainer Martin.

Goodes said Opetaia has been training well in Belfast, where he has been without his father.

"He has adapted very well and certainly been training very well, with no signs of stress or homesickness at all. He's blending in well with the crew and looking very sharp," Goodes said of the youngest Olympic boxer ever selected for Australia.

Light heavyweight medal favourite Hooper, 20, is also impressing team management.

"He's got a lot of natural talent and when he wants to turn it on, he will ... and that means he will be quite a danger to his opposition in the Games," Goodes said.

With no injury complaints to report, the team is due to arrive in London on Wednesday.

"It's just a matter of keeping focused now and especially when we get into the (Olympic) village when distractions will no doubt come into play."

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