The inclusion of international fighters in the Fight for Marist II to restore Samoa to its boxing glory days is a step in the right direction.
So says Former Olympic Australian Boxing Coach, Bodo Andreas, who has a prolonged career in boxing and is on island as a V.I.P guest to attend the Fight For Marist II.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, he said, “This tournament is definitely a step forward in the right direction. Again, this should go on every year and another one. Also these boxers here need to get exposed overseas and take it out of Samoa to international tournaments.”
Mr .Andreas who is originally from Germany, became Australia’s Olympic Boxing Coach in 1997 and has been in the highest levels of boxing since.
He is no stranger to Samoa. He brought a team over for the Oceania Championships in 2001 and has been the Australian head coach for 13 years.
Having been in the game for a while, Mr. Andreas fondly remembers the glory days of Samoa when Samoan boxers were a force to be reckoned with in the ring.
He recalls the astonishing natural athletic ability paired with Samoans strength, stealth and size that used to have foreign boxers shaking in their shoes.
“You were much much much better then today. You were much stronger then today.”
Now looking at the state of boxing Samoa is in today, he sees a lot of young up and coming boxers who show great potential but still have a very long way to go.
He said, “ When I was here the first time, I saw very strong boxers in Samoa. I’m not sure I’ve seen that lately. Yesterday we were in the gym with the teams and the Samoan team were all young upcoming guys. Which is good, I can see a change. It needs years and years to get Samoa back to the stage they were 20 years ago .
He states that inclusiveness and the proper infrastructure will help invigorate the development of the sport in Samoa
“ You have to have the right structure, and coaching is very important.
You have junior boxers, amateur boxers, mens elite boxers and women boxers.”
Yes, this man thinks the inclusion of women in the sport is crucial to its development. “ I asked someone , “ Do you have women boxing?” they said, “No.” You are at least 20 years behind. The whole world has women. They’ve had women boxing championships since 2001.
This is an area where Samoa could step in and look for very strong women. I’m very sure Samoa has some strong women. “
Mr. Andreas acknowledged that the international tournament is a step in the right direction but projects that the restoration phase will be a while.
“It needs commitment, and helpers, you cant do it on your own. Maybe a partnership in boxing and rugby and exchanging knowledge.”
The boxing coaching legend is keen to come out of retirement to help Samoa restore the sport back to its former glory.
He told the Samoa Observer, “We’ll see if there’s a possibility for me to come to Samoa to try to help. I will be willing to do it.
I can still do a lot. I’m old but not that old.”