From humble beginnings came 25 year old Tone Fereti to claim victory over Warren Fuiava at last Saturday night’s Rumble in Paradise.
Fereti’s boxing career started in 2004 at 14 years of age, when he kept the $50 his mother gave him for his school fees and signed himself up for a local fight, without his parents knowledge.
His first victory secured, and his family suitably shocked to hear of his success over the radio, Fereti’s mother discouraged him from continuing in boxing, fearing that he would get hurt.
However, Fereti knew in his heart that he had the potential to be a great boxer and following that first fight he took home over 10 more amateur wins.
His amateur career also took him to Australia and New Zealand and saw him win 2 gold medals.
Fereti believes that his boxing career grew from his family. Learning to respect and serve his parents and family gave him the discipline and commitment to excel in his sporting endeavours.
Working on his family’s plantation and serving his family is a means by which Fereti has learnt to honour and humble himself to his career.
However in 2008 his mother’s wish came true and Fereti gave up his amateur boxing career.
Instead, he got to work as a bricklayer and stayed at home, working to support his family.
But he couldn’t stay out of the ring for long, and with courage that he says can only come from the heart, Fereti stepped back into the ring for the first time since 2008, last Saturday night against crowd favourite Warren Fuiava.
His victory took him by surprise, but leading up to the fight he felt prepared and he knew in his heart that he could do it.
Fereti trained himself for only two weeks in preparation for his first professional fight, and all his hard work paid off in the end, by surprising the audience and taking home a win over Fuiava.
He described beating Fuiava as not something to be proud of, but at the same time it’s a step up for his career; something for which he is eternally grateful.
For now, he intends to continue training, and is praying to the Lord to help him regain his strength.
He describes this fight as bringing him back to where he belongs, and is hopeful for a call to go and fight overseas.
Fereti fights to support his family in Faleula. He says his family is not doing well. They are not wealthy people and in his heart he knows that he can support them through his boxing career. He plans to work hard and train hard, to uplift his family and to uplift the country.
He says there’s always a courage involved in returning to boxing, and there’s always a risk. But in his heart he believes that he can regain his talent and he can be a truly great boxer in the future.
For Fereti, all strength comes from the heart. From the love he receives from his family, and the inner belief that he can always do better.
Right now, he’s looking at life from another angle. He’s seeking to regain his boxing talents, to move forward and become a great person for his family and his country.
Fereti also has a message of encouragement to other young upcoming Samoan boxers to train hard and be modest. He says the key to being great is being humble and believing in your heart that you can achieve what you want to achieve.
Until his next fight Fereti will stay in Faleula, serving his family, working at their plantation, and training long and hard until he is the best that he can possibly be.