Three days before the biggest fight of his career, Keilor Downs boxer Joel Camilleri was holed up in bed and in a world of pain as food poisoning took hold.
The 28-year-old’s chance to fight for the right to become Australia’s super-welterweight champion was on shaky ground.
“I got food poisoning on the Tuesday of fight week,” Camilleri said. “I was hallucinating in bed and had a temperature of 38.5. It was crazy.”
His condition improved quickly. By fight night, he was close to 100 per cent and ready to step into the ring for a title bout with New Zealand-born Queenslander Billy Limov.
Camilleri produced one of his best performances in the ring, winning by technical knockout in the fifth round.
In the seven years since turning pro, Camilleri’s goal has been to become national super-welterweight champion.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve been chasing this title since 2012.”
Camilleri was not sure how his body would react after the illness in the lead-up to the
The frustrating part for him was that his preparation since Christmas had been spot on.
He made up for the lack of exercise in the lead-up with his mental strength and boxing intelligence.
While he was the younger man in the fight by three years, Camilleri had more experience than his opponent.
Camilleri was on the front foot early in the fight, knocking down Limov in the first round.
Limov showed tremendous grit to hang in with Camilleri, but it was to no avail.
“He had a very good chin, but when you’re copping some big punches, it eventually gets you,” Camilleri said. “He came back pretty strongly in the third and showed a massive heart. I was too smart for him, landed some big shots and got him out of there by the fifth.
“If the fight had’ve continued, I believe I would’ve hurt him pretty badly, so I’m glad the doctor stopped the fight.”
Camilleri holds three title belts, including the Australian super-welterweight title, the World Boxing Council Asian Boxing Council welterweight title and the Victorian state super-welterweight title.