Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali continues boxing ascent with Samoan title win

Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali remains the Light-Heavyweight boxing champion of Samoa after beating Ropati Hall by unanimous decision at the Champ of Champs tournament final at St Joseph’s College yesterday.

It was an impressive performance from the Commonwealth Games silver medallist, who used his height and reach advantages over Hall to great effect.

Plodzicki-Faoagali controlled most of the fight with his right jab, using good balance and footwork to keep Hall from coming inside.

The 19-year-old Polish-Samoan only arrived here Friday morning, but quickly adjusted to the conditions to take out the title.

He and his father and coach Steven Faoagali are spending Christmas in Samoa before returning home to Sydney, Australia.

Plodzicki-Faoagali is looking forward to an upcoming family reunion.

“I hardly get to see them because they’re all over the world,” he said.

Steven Faoagali said they are thankful to Samoa for supporting his son to fight for the country.

“I’ve been bringing him here to fight every year since 2015.”

He said this shows the Samoa boxing officials they are committed to the program here.

Plodzicki-Faoagali said it’s a very different experience fighting here compared to the big arenas he has been to.

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“Always good to have the local atmosphere and feel, with all the boys always cheering and having a laugh at the same time.

“It’s still serious, but it’s a very chilled environment.”

He and his father have just returned from a training camp in Europe.

They spent a week at the Great Britain boxing camp, before spending four weeks training in Ireland with their national team.

Plodzicki-Faoagali then went on to Germany for more training and a tournament.

He beat Germany’s 1st and 2nd ranked light-heavyweights to win the tournament, going undefeated.

Plodzicki-Faogali said it’s good to go overseas and be exposed to different fighting styles.

“Especially at the sparring camp in Ireland, going against the French Italian and German boys.

“One fighter would fight with his hands down and do all this weird stuff, another would just come forward, the next one just uses raw power.”

He is a fulltime boxer, having stopped school at 16.

“I really wanted to keep going to school, but dad said you have a bright future in boxing, so continue it,” Plodzicki-Faoagali said.

Steven Faoagali said the key to his son’s success is hard work and dedication.

“If he sticks to it, I can see him going far.”

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