Samoan boxing icon Jimmy Thunder Peau passes

Samoa has lost a boxing icon with the passing of Ti’a James Senio Peau, famously known as “Jimmy the Thunder Peau.”

Ti’a was 54. 

Reports from New Zealand where he spent most of his time said Ti’a died at the Auckland Hospital this morning “following an operation on a brain tumour.” He died peacefully in his sleep.

Born in Samoa, Ti’a was raised in Auckland where he honed his boxing talent on his way to winning a gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in the super heavyweight division.

He represented New Zealand but also held the Australian heavyweight title twice, as well as the IBO and WBF heavyweight titles.

Jimmy Peau was a pioneer for Samoan boxing, leading the way on a path that other Samoan boxers, Faumuina David Tua, Maselino Masoe and Lupesoliai Joseph Parker and many other would later follow.

Peau would be fondly remembered for one of the "fastest knockouts in heavyweight history" against Crawford Grimsley, an American. He floored him with the first punch, 1.5seconds into the bout.

Asked about it later, he said: "I was hungry. I missed out on my lunch and I missed out on dinner, and I was getting ready for the fight and I walked past the buffet and I said `damn man, I wanna go eat'."

He also recorded famous wins over Americans Tim Witherspoon and Tony Tubbs.

His professional record of 49 fights includes 35 wins - 28 by knockout, and 14 losses.


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