David Tua credits Pacific boxing trailblazers

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 03 June 2023, 9:30AM

Hall of Famer and boxing legend To'aletai Faumuina David Tua has acknowledged the work of the boxing trailblazers from the Pacific who paved the way for him after being inducted to the National Boxing Hall of Fame a month ago. 

In an interview with this newspaper, To'aletai who is better known in Samoa as "Tuaman" is in the country for the Motherland concert. He said he is humbled. 

To'aletai was originally set to be inducted in 2020, the ceremony was postponed due to the global pandemic. Despite being held last year, Tua was still not able to attend the ceremony for personal reasons. Now, three years on he’s finally received the award in California.

“It’s a privilege for me to be here on behalf of the giants and the pathfinders of boxing from where I am from because if it weren’t for them I would not be here today," To'aletai said.

"They paved the way for me and I am the answer to the prayers and sacrifices they made in the past."

To'aletai articulated how proud he is of his roots and culture. He even performed a siva tau (Samoan war dance) when he made his way on to the stage to receive his award.

He chanted the phrase “O ai le Toa? Samoa!” Translated, it signals that Samoa is ready to go to war. The war dance was famously used by the historic Toa Samoa team who were finalists for last year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Being back in Samoa just in time as the nation commemorates its 61 years of Independence, To'aletai said he is always happy to return to his motherland. 

"I never think twice whenever I get the opportunity to come back to Samoa," he said with a big smile. 

"It's always humbling to come back to the motherland and reconnect with the people of my country and my culture. 

"As they say, there is no place like home, and I believe that wherever we go and whatever we do, Samoa will always be home for us.

"Being given the opportunity to come back and inspire the young and future generation of my country is such a humbling experience for me as I grew up here and I do hope that they can get inspired by my journey and what I have accomplished so far. 

The 50 year old stepped away from the sport in 2013, after a career that spanned more than 20 years. He fashioned a formidable career which includes a bronze medal at Barcelona Olympics in the 1992 and a world title shot against former world champion Lennox Lewis in 2000.

Nowadays, you can find the former heavyweight mentoring the next generation at the ‘David Tua Gym’ in Onehunga. The gym runs on the mantra, ‘World champions in the ring, world champions outside of the ring’, a quality that Tua hopes to instill into those who come through to his gym.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 03 June 2023, 9:30AM
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