Filimaua dedicates boxing gold medal to father
The super heavyweight boxing champion at the 2019 XVI Pacific Games has been dubbed the “King of the Pacific”.
He is Filimaua Hala, a 28-year-old who works at the Samoa Port Authority, and is from the villages of Mulifanua and Fa’ala Palauli.
Hala was the only boxer to deliver a technical knockout during the boxing finals at Savai’i, which led to Samoa getting its sixth gold medal from boxing and the boxer’s first ever gold medal. He was up against Tongan boxer, Hurrell Sepasitiano Lavemai, in the super heavyweight +91kg division.
Hala showed true sportsmanship when he helped medical personnel by the ringside attend to his opponent, who was knocked out few minutes into the first round of the match.
Outside of the ring, Hala couldn’t stop smiling and credited God for his success in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“First and foremost, I thank our heavenly father for his guidance and protection upon his children. From the beginning of this journey when we started training, the first and last thing we do is pray,” he said.
“We know this sport is very difficult and we need to be strong physically, mentally and spiritually. And we prayed in the beginning of this journey, and it’s only right that we give God all the praises for all that he has done for us.”
Like anything in life, Hala admits that getting a gold medal is not an easy task, as there was a lot of pressure and he had to make sacrifices when it came to trainings.
“But we had the best team and the best coaches who never failed us and just kept pushing us and that made us work even harder to get the right results.”
But the work doesn’t end here for Samoa’s boxing team, as while they celebrate their Pacific Games achievements, they will set their sights on the 2020 Olympics.
Hala said he won silver at the 2011 New Caledonia Pacific Games, but it was a different feeling winning gold at the 2019 XVI Pacific Games in Samoa.
“It’s a different feeling winning a gold medal. But we won’t stop until we qualify for the Olympics, it doesn’t stop here.”
Asked about where he draws his inspiration from, he said his father who was also a boxer is his inspiration.
“He is a very passionate man and does not talk a lot. But he taught me how to box from a very young age and has been pushing me to try my best. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to travel to Savai’i to see me fight. But I am sure he was praying for me and cheering me on from our home.
“He has had a great impact on my journey as a boxer, and at times where I feel like giving up, I look at him and get motivated to keep boxing. I dedicate this medal and this achievement to him.
"I would also like to thank each and everyone who has helped me throughout this journey. God knows who you are and I pray that he continue to bless each and everyone of you."