Date of Birth: May 5, 1955
Home Province: Tsoi Island, New Ireland Province
Boxer, Tumat Sogolik jumped on the scene with gold medals in the 1974 Oceania Championships and 1975 South Pacific Games.
Riding on his success at the Oceania Championships and the South Pacific Games, Tumat again was selected as a member of the small Team PNG contingent to the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, the first Olympic Games attended by Papua New Guinea. Tumat was well aware of the level of competition at these Games and was proud to have given his best as he advanced to the second round before being eliminated by his South Korean opponent.
The pinnacle of Tumat’s boxing career was his participation in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. Getting through his elimination round Tumat defeated his Welsh opponent, David George in the quarter final before stopping Kenyan favourite, Douglas Maina in a first round knockout in the semi-final.
The gold medal fight between Tumat and Ireland’s Barry McGuigan, is remembered by all who witnessed it as one of the best displays of boxing by a Papua New Guinean.
Despite Tumat landing a number of powerful blows including one that McGuigan later described as being “the hardest I had ever been hit as an amateur.” a disputed split decision went to the Irishman which he later claimed to be “one of the more fortunate calls of my career”.
Although Sogolik himself said he was not that disappointed as he had gone to do his best by representing PNG and was satisfied with his efforts. “It was in the hands of the judges,” he said.
Following the bout, Sogolik had an announced visit from Queen Elizabeth II who had heard of the fight and the decision and wanted to meet the PNG boxer in person.
“A bodyguard knocked on my door and told me I have been honoured by a visit from Her Majesty. I wanted to go shower and change quickly before she came in but he told me to stay as I am.
“She said sorry that I lost but said I fought well and that although I was a small man I had a heart bigger than her kingdom,” said Sogolik.