Source: Gerwin Polu. Two boxing Olympians are turning professional and have succeeded in efforts to bring their professional debuts to be held on home soil.
Samoa’s two time Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Tupuola Seua’i Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faoagali and Pacific Games gold medalist Marion Faustino Ah Tong, will fight as professionals for the first time in the upcoming Next Generation Judgment Day 2022 Tournament scheduled for Saturday 26th November 2022 in Samoa.
Both boxers have been representing Samoa since they were teenagers, making their mark at the 2018 Youth Oceania Games where Ato and Faustino won gold and silver respectively.
They both won gold for Samoa at the 2019 Pacific Games and despite the challenges of Covid-19, the inspirational duo travelled all the way to the Tokyo 2022 Summer Olympics and once again, flew the Samoan flag against all odds.
‘Having my first professional fight in Samoa, really is a dream come true,” said Tupuola Seua’i.
“No better place for a Samoan boxer to have his or her debut than on home soil, in front of our own people.”
Marion Faustino says he is very excited to be able to debut his professional fight “where boxing life started for me”.
“It has always been a dream, and for it to be happening real soon, is surreal,” added Marion
The pair will be going against professional fighters from Fiji.
Apisa Naciqa will be going against Ato in the Cruiserweight division and Marion will be facing Raturakuro Domocokai in the Middleweight division.
Tupuola Seua’i says his main inspirations are his father, as well as Marvin Hagler and David Tua.
The young fighters share a common inspiration from boxing hall of famer, Faumuina To’aletai David Tua.
“He is all I used to watch when I was younger,” says Marion.
The Next Generation Judgment Day 2022 is a Pro-Am Boxing Tournament that will also feature International Amateur teams from South Australia and New Zealand.
Tournament Director of the upcoming event, Tavu’i Mike Lemisio said this is a continuation of the Marist International Boxing events, which has been held over the years.
“We bring in fighters from overseas so that our local boxers can have that experience. It not only benefits the boxers, but also our boxing coaches and officials,” said Tavu’i.
“This all started back in 2015 with the initiation of the Fight for Marist, instigated by Marist St. Joseph Sports Club and Marist Brothers Old Pupils Association to revive the Samoa Boxing scene.
‘We wanted to create a pathway for our boxers. We started in the Amateur side and now we are moving into the Professional scene,” says Tavu’i.
“We want to make sure that if any of our youth chooses boxing as a career, there will be a clear pathway for them to follow through these tournaments.”
Protégés from these tournaments include not only our current Olympians Ato and Marion, but also up and coming boxers Jancen Papali’i and youngster Darius Poulava to name a few.
The Next Generation Judgment Day 2022 is also a preparation tournament for local and overseas teams attending the Oceania Youth Boxing Championship which will be held in Samoa in February-March 2023.
“We continue to thank God for the focus and strength he has given us to be able to continue supporting our youth through these international tournaments.’ ‘We also would like to thank all the individuals, businesses and organisations who have supported us financially over the years. You have helped us get to where we are now and we continue to appreciate your support in the upcoming event.’ Tavu’i Mike Lemisio.
The Next Generation Judgment Day 2022 is sanctioned by the Samoa Boxing Federation and the South Pacific Boxing Professional Incorporated as confirmed by President Ale Vena Ale.