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Seppy Karibaba The Boxing Champion Who Guards Papua’s Forests

by Senaman
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JAYAPURA, PAPUA – Dozens of medals hang in the cupboard, trophies are neatly arranged, old photos are stored in an album and one of the photos shows a boxer who managed to knock out his opponent, the two arms of the man fighting to make Indonesia proud, This figure is similar to the American boxing legend Muhamad Ali, Seppy Karubaba, Seppy is now 64 years old and he is a boxer who triumphed in the era of the 1970s to 1980s, Seppy currently lives in the dense residential area of Klofkamp, Gurabesi Village, North Jayapura District.

Seppy Karubaba boxing career began in 1976 and the following year in 1977 he participated in the National Sports Week representing Irian Jaya, the name of Papua at that time, his participation in PON catapulted his name, Seppy immediately won a gold medal in the 75 Kilogram light middle class.

At the 1977 Sea Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Seppy made it to the semifinals before being defeated by a boxer from Thailand, Seppy managed to get third place and the following year he was again part of the Indonesian National Team at the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

With his work in boxing, Seppy name was increasingly recognized, he never missed participating in various championships and not only domestically, he also participated in international championships, such as the King’s Cup in Thailand, the Marcos Cup in the Philippines, and the President’s Cup which was attended by participants from various countries, both Asia and outside Asia and for the National level he always managed to overthrow his opponents.

Seppy  unforgettable memory is when he lost a knockout to a Thailand boxer during the Sea Games in Jakarta in 1979, Seppy was unconscious and he was immediately rushed to the hospital, during the recovery period at the hospital, Seppy called the former Vice President at that time, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana IX to visit him, not long after the Sultan and state officials came directly to see his condition.

Despite being a famous boxer in his youth, it turns out that Seppy also has a love for the environment, he often plants fruit trees in the Cycloop (Cyclops) mountain area, as well as helping to keep the area free from illegal encroachment, at that time the Cycloop mountains had not yet been designated as a conservation area. His pleasure in protecting the forest led Seppy in 1983 to become an honorarium worker for the Protection of Nature Conservation  which later became the Natural Resources Conservation Center in Papua, and at that time he was still actively boxing.

Seppy days were filled with boxing and forest guarding, until he decided to hang up his boxing gloves in 1988. “After retiring I decided to become a guardian of the Cycloop forest in the North [Jayapura] area, his job is to patrol and monitor if there are forest fires or area clearing,” Seppy said.

According to Seppy, her love for the environment was inspired by a visit to Thailand for a boxing tournament. After the match, she took the time to walk to Pattaya beach where she was fascinated to see many trees and birds in the trees that were friendly to humans.

Since then, before practicing routine boxing on the Base G beach in Jayapura, he obliged himself to plant trees, such as acacia or cypress, he also transmitted it to other boxers and now Base G Beach is now one of the tourist destinations in Jayapura City, visitors can feel the cool air and shady trees, some of the trees that grew were thanks to the hands of Seppy and his colleagues.

In his career as a Civil Servant he was appointed in 1990 as an employee of the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency, during his assignment he several times thwarted illegal animal trade such as birds or crocodiles and also illegal timber trade that would be sold out of Papua. In addition, he was also visited by KONI Jayapura and he was promised a house, but later this did not become a reality, even though he had retired Seppy Karubaba still spent the rest of his life as a forest guard at the foot of Mount Cycloop. By the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency Seppy was invited to join the Masyarakat Mitra Polhut and in addition, he was also asked by the Regional Drinking Water Company to guard the intake or water pipe owned by the regional drinking water company on Mount Cycloop, so that it flows to the homes of residents in Jayapura City.

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