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Tri-Nation Boxing Championship

A look at the team that will be representing American Samoa at the 2-day Tri-Nation Championship in independent Samoa later this week. The event is part of the preparations for the Pacific Mini Games set to be held in Vanuatu next month. [photo: AF]
Includes our undefeated female super-heavyweight boxer, Elizabeth Tuavale

A team of four local boxers from the American Samoa Amateur Boxing Association (ASABA) departed the territory last Saturday for Samoa.

They will be representing American Samoa during the two-day Tri-Nation Boxing Championship to be held Nov. 9-10 at the Tuana’imato Sports Complex.

The event serves to prepare the boxers for the upcoming Pacific Mini Games scheduled for next month in Vanuatu.

The Tri-Nation Boxing Championship includes participation from New Zealand, American Samoa and Samoa.

American Samoa’s team includes 2 new warriors — Alesana Alesana, fighting in the 69kg division and Orlando Taala in the 75kg division — and 2 seasoned boxers: Alofa Mataafa in the 81kg division, and a female boxer, Elizabeth Tuavale, who is competing in the women's super-heavyweight division.

Tuavale is the only boxer from the group that was part of the team that represented the territory during the Teuila International Boxing Championship held in Samoa last September. There, she won her 4th straight international amateur bout of her boxing career, after defeating Samoa’s top female boxer in the super heavyweight division.

(Team American Samoa returned home with the Teuila International Boxing Championship title after winning 5 out of 9 bouts against fighters representing the Samoa Amateur Boxing Association.)

In a brief interview with Samoa News last week at their training center in Tafuna, ASABA head coach Sala Sanele Etuale said the team is ready to take up the challenge, and it’s a good chance to test their skills and fitness level against other top fighters from NZ and Samoa.

He said participating in the tournament is a good way to prepare the team for the Pacific Mini Games next month, and other future international competitions.

“This will be a huge step for our young fighters who will be battling for the win this coming weekend. Not only will they get the chance to show they have the talent, but it will also prepare them for the next challenges in life. For our elite fighters, who have been in the business for years, this will be a good chance to prepare them for any future tournaments,” Sala said, adding that the two new warriors have been in the ring for over two years now, and he’s expecting them to do well.

“Our female boxer has an undefeated record in over 21 amateur bouts," he shared. "She defeated some of the good fighters from Samoa during past international tournaments, including her win from the Teuila International Boxing Championship two months ago, and she shows her power and skills every time she steps in the ring."

When asked by Samoa News about her preparations for the Tri-Nation tournament, Tuavale said she's been working hard with her coach for the last 2 months.

“I really want to win a gold medal for American Samoa from this Tri-Nation Championship. I want this badly. Now I have to go out and get it,” said Tuavale. “It's my time to show what I have for the sport that I love.”

Fellow boxer Alesana Alesana is a young fighter who has the potential and the skills, and Sala is confident he will do well in Samoa.

“Alesana is a young fighter who has proven during his many amateur bouts that he has the skills and power to compete with other top fighters who stand before him, and I’m confident he can do the job this week," Sala said.

When asked about his preparations, Alesana said he’s ready for the challenge.

“I’ve been training very hard for the upcoming tournament and I’m in great shape, thanks to my trainer,” said Alesana. “I’m not nervous about the upcoming tournament but I might get chills when I start in the ring, which is natural for all boxers; but I believe I can win a gold medal this week in Samoa,” added Alesana, who is fighting in the 69kg division.

Orlando Taala, who will be fighting in the 75kg division, said he will be using the Tri-Nation Championship to test his fitness level and skills.

Another medal hopeful for American Samoa is Alofa Mataafa, who is well known in the ring for his power and hard punches. He will be fighting in the 81kg division. Winning most of his amateur bouts in American Samoa and Samoa, Mataafa said he will do his best to win a gold medal for his country.

The group is scheduled to return to Pago Pago on Saturday, Nov. 11th.

Good luck Team American Samoa!