Ato optimistic about his Olympic dream
Amateur heavyweight boxer, Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali, is going to prepare for his one final shot at the Olympics in June, having missed out at the Asia-Oceania qualification tournament this week.
The 21-year-old was beaten in the quarterfinals in Amman, Jordan, so didn't receive one of four available qualifying berths in his category.
Plodzicki-Faoagali could still make it to the Tokyo Olympics in July through the three places up for grabs at the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, scheduled to be held in France in May.
"Hopefully the travel restrictions doesn't stop my plans for that as that's my final chance to qualify," he said.
Plodzicki-Faoagali picked up a cut near his right eye in his first fight in the Asia-Oceania tournament Round of 16 against Australian Brandon Rees, which he won to advance to the quarterfinals.
"Disappointed with the injury but it's part of boxing, and definitely played a part in my next bout," he said.
The Samoan lost to Jordan's Hussein Ishaish in the quarterfinal, with the cut opening up and the referee stopping the contest in the second round.
"I didn't want the referee to stop the fight due to it because I felt I hurt my opponent and just needed one more round to finish it, but the ref saw it different," Plodzicki-Faoagali said.
Despite the setback, he remains fully focussed on his amateur career.
"As for professional boxing, it's something far from my mind at the moment as this has been my dream as kid is to fight in the Olympics, and whatever happens after that then maybe me and my dad will sit down and think about my future in the sport," Plodzicki-Faoagali said.