Boxing Team Am Samoa bows out of competition after disastrous 1st day
Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS — Team American Samoa’s boxing team in the 2023 Pacific Games failed to secure a win on the opening day of their campaign and has bowed out of the competition.
The five-member squad encountered problems in the second week since they arrived when one of their members, David Tanuvasa developed flu-like symptoms and was bedridden for a few days.
After a medical examination by team doctor Dr. Ben Siatu’u, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was instructed not to compete as it could worsen his condition and end in heart complications.
Tanuvasa’s exclusion proved costly for the team as he was the only member with international experience having represented American Samoa before in the Teuila Boxing Tournament between the two Samoa’s and the Oceania Boxing Championship in Apia two years ago.
The other four members had zero experience, in fact they had never entered a boxing ring before!
One of them, Kok Lian Iosefa Ah Ping was found to be overweight and was also barred from competing.
So only three boxers competed.
The first to enter the ring was Losifafo Tunoa who faced a Tongan boxer in the Light Middle Weight Division.
It was an action-packed encounter with both boxers giving as good as they got but in the end, the judges’ split decision was in favor of the Tongan boxer.
The other two boxers did not fare so well and both lost by Technical Knockouts.
Superheavy Division boxer Jaden Liu was floored by his New Zealand opponent early in the first round, while the referee stopped the fight in the CruiserWeight Division when it was obvious that boxer Maifea Elijah Turner was no match for his New Caledonia opponent.
Turner’s inexperience showed when the referee paused the fight and did an eight count.
Head Coach Taumaoe Ioane pointed out to Samoa News that he should have held his hands up to let the referee know that he was ready to continue the fight.
Instead, he just stood there with his hands hanging at his sides and the referee automatically ended the match giving the win to the New Caledonia boxer.
The American Samoa head coach expressed his disappointment with his team’s performance but there is nothing he could do because four of the five boxers who came have never had any experience.
“There is nothing we as coaches can do if our boxers have no exposure,” he lamented. “There has also been no local competition lately and we cannot expect to have any good results if we pitch our inexperienced boys against boxers who have been competing all year and preparing for these Games. We need a boxing revival back home to develop the sport.”
In an interview with boxer Maifea Elijah Turner, he stated that it was a baptism by fire experience for him and that being inside the ring was a totally different experience than what he had envisioned.
“I have learnt from the short time I’ve been in the ring for the first time in my life that boxing is not a sport you come half-cocked to,” Turner stated matter-of-factly. “Being beat up by your opponent is not a good experience and it has motivated me to start training in earnest, both for fitness, skills and techniques.”
American Samoa Boxing Association (ASBA) President Mapu Jamias told Samoa News they had brought the four rookies so they could experience what it was like in the ring and how it felt to be defeated.
He revealed that ASBA had invested a lot in one boxer that they hoped would win a medal for the Territory in these Games by training him for three years in Las Vegas.
Jamias stated he had let him stay at his house there so that he could access the facilities to train.
However in the end, that boxer opted to represent Samoa in these Games.
“Things have been in limbo for our association ever since COVID,” the ASBA president said. “I guess the threat of COVID took away the interest of many young people in the sport. We have a lot to do to revive the sport but we plan to do it in preparation for the mini games in Palau in the next two years.”
This Pacific Games report is brought to you through the kind sponsorship of Paramount Builders, Inc. and ASNOC.