The future of boxing in Samoa is bright.
Despite the sport’s current predicament, with the government taking the lead in pushing development at grassroots level and support from Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker, brighter days are ahead.
Yesterday, Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio announced the introduction of an inter-school boxing tournament to be staged at the end of the year.
The six-week tournament was revealed during the Vailima Corporate Bash Fight Night 5 weigh in at Taumeasina Island Resort. Lupesoliai Parker was present and he supported the idea.
“It is great to see the support that boxing is getting from the government and everyone up there,” Parker said.
“Boxing, like the Prime Minister said, was a very strong sport back in the day and Samoa used to take all the medals in competitions.
“But nowadays we have slacked off a bit so these programmes will definitely help. Samoa has a lot of good talent and I want to see Samoa get back to the top.
“The only thing I can offer is for you guys is if you want some advice on training then come see me after and I will tell you what I do for training. Thank you to everyone for all the support.”
In announcing the competition, Minister Loau said the idea is to develop young talents.
He said the tournament would be crucial in teaching the students some discipline especially with the issue of school fights.
“This is a very important era for the sport of boxing in our country,” he said.
“I have been thinking a lot about how to find ways to discipline our children in school with all the fights; I have come to realize that this is one of the best solutions to the problem.
“I think that it is appropriate to have a boxing tournament for the students. So today is the beginning of the boxing tournament for the schools in Samoa; a lot of good things will come out of this tournament.”
According to the Minister, one of the benefits is finding the root of all the problems with fights.
“First of all, boxing isn’t just a sport for anyone,” he said. “Only someone who is well-prepared and well-experienced can jump into the ring and fight.
“Secondly, this is where we will see and find all the cowards who like hiding behind other students when they fight; because once you go in the ring, that’s where we will find the true fighter; and that is why we decided to have this tournament.”
Boxing has benefited schools in the past and Loau feels that we could benefit from the sport again.
“Leifiifi had a boxing ring back in the days and so did Marist school,” he said.
“This was how we were disciplined back in the days; but it was also a way to discover and expose the talents of those who are good at the sport.
“Back then this sport was really big with a lot of benefits to Samoa, nowadays it is not so popular; this decision is also good because not every child in Samoa will excel or is interested in rugby.
“This sport will give more options and then in the future we will have fighters going to international tournaments like the Olympics; we have no boxers going to the Olympics.
“I don’t know what that is but all I know is that we need to focus on this sport for the good of our country; we will begin at the grassroots and then make our way up.
“So to all the school students of Samoa; get ready to train your fists along with your mind; no one will want to mess with you if you are good with your fists.”
A preview of the school boxing will take place tonight at the Vailima Corporate Bash Fight Night 5 where representatives of Saint Josephs, Samoa College and Robert Louis Stevenson will fight in the ring.