Having just returned from a tournament and camp in New Zealand, Marist Boxing are confident of good results at the Champ of Champs national Samoa boxing tournament starting today.
The tournament was scheduled to start tomorrow initially, but with about 200 entries, an extra day is needed to get through all the bouts.
Marist Boxing left for New Zealand in late November, and spent time training there in both Auckland and Hastings.
They also competed against members of the Hastings Giants Boxing Academy in a New Zealand vs Samoa Tournament.
Marist coach Mike Lemisio said Hastings is becoming a boxing powerhouse in the country.
“The competition there is pretty high, most of the Hastings team are in line to represent New Zealand.”
“We are very thankful to the connection with New Zealand coaches, allowing us to build that partnership.”
“Look at rugby for example, you wouldn’t get Steve Hansen coming to do a session with Manu Samoa, but with boxing you can.”
Henry Tyrell, 27, was the most experienced boxer on the trip.
Tyrell is a veteran of two Commonwealth Games campaigns, and projects as a potential gold medal winner at the Pacific Games next year.
Lemisio said that would be the end of his amateur career.
“For the elite level amateurs, we’re starting to look at pathways for them to go professional.”
“This is what Marist Boxing want to fix most.”
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali is a Marist alumnus who has recently gone over to Europe for eight weeks of training and competition.
Based in Australia, he will be flying in to Samoa tomorrow to fight in the Champ of Champs tomorrow night.
“He’s dying to fight in Samoa again, wants people to cheer him,” said coach Lemisio.
“It’s important to bring him in for the little ones.”
“We’ve seen him fighting around the world, at the commonwealth games but now they get to see him in person.”
Lemisio said the plan for both Marist and Samoa boxing as a whole is to inspire locals to take up the sport.
“Maybe more Joseph Parkers and David Tuas are coming.”