Boxer off to China to prepare for gold
Leading young boxer Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali leaves for China on Saturday to begin four months of intensive training ahead of the Pacific Games in July.
Tupuola has been in Samoa this month to prepare for the trip, and on the weekend won two bouts against his peers as part of his preparations.
Travelling to the Yunan Province for training is an opportunity to get out of his comfort zone, and get seriously fit for the Pacific Games, Tupuola said.
“It’s very easy to get distracted at home, like with your friends and all that, everyday living stuff,” he said.
“You need to be taken out of your comfort zone. I think you need that every now and then, it brings you back to reality.”
Despite turning just 20 this week, Tupuola already has a bronze and silver medal under his belt. He said just as he did at the Youth Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Games, he is aiming for gold.
But before he can get there, he will spend four months in China. It is double the length of time he has ever spent away from home.
“The max I have been away is two months in England and Ireland, and I was by myself.”
“I was just so homesick, I thought to myself: I have nothing else to do, I just gotta give it my all here, and I got into the zone through that,” he said.
“I think the same thing is going to happen, I’ll be homesick and I’ll just get into the zone.”
Tupuola and 24 other boxers from Samoa will live in a high performance sport centre and train every single day, sparring with other athletes as well as each other.
From his experiences of boxing over the weekend, some of the local talent might be lagging in fitness, but not for long, Mr Tupuola said.
“I think this trip, for some of those boys going over it will be good for them to up their fitness, away from distractions,” he said.
“Everyone is going to think it’s a holiday but it’s not going to be a holiday, it’s going to be a training camp, so it will be good for them.”
He has been training non-stop, and does not intend to take a break. Tupuola said momentum is important when it comes to training, both before and after the trip to China. But he isn’t nervous about the preparations, he said.
“Of course there are always going to be nerves when you’re fighting, but that’s just normal.
“If you’re telling someone you’re not nervous, you’re lying, but as long as you put in all the hard work you should be fine,” Tupuola said.
Fesola’i Va’aiga Tuigamala, Vice-President of the Samoa Boxing Federation said having the current silver medallist in boxing in the Samoan squad is a “joy.”
“We’re absolutely delighted he can part of our squad to China,” he said.
“Ato is a very focused, determined guy and he is driven to be the best.”
Fesola’i said the trials over the weekend were a useful measure of who has been putting in the work before the training camp. Another trial will be held on the squad’s return to select the final team for the Pacific Games.