Samoa’s highest ranked boxers, Tupuola Seua’i Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faoagali and Marion Ah Tong both secured convincing wins in their inaugural professional fights at the Next Generation Judgment Day event last Friday night.
It was a difficult struggle to bring home their first professional fight, but the pair have been boxing for Samoa since they were teenagers, and really wanted to be on home soil for their debuts.
The event was made eventually made possible by promoters, Marist Boxing in Samoa, in collaboration with the Samoa Boxing Federation and the Samoa Professional Boxing Association.
“I loved fighting in Samoa and starting my professional career here,” said Ato. “I’m glad to put on a show for our people that attended and those watching on TV and livestream..”
“I thank God for his protection, I thank the Marist St Joseph Club in Samoa, my Dad and my team, my family who have had to bear the cost of my boxing career, and of course the sponsors of the night and especially the tapuaiga of all of Samoa,” said Ato.
Samoa’s favorite boxing sons live and train together in Sydney. They share the same Management team where Ato’s dad, Steven Faogali, is their Coach and Marion’s older brother, Jesmario Ah Tong is their Assistant Coach.
Having now entered professional boxing, the Olympian duo will be looking to sign with a Management Company in the future, with an announcement to come.
Another key part of Tupuola Ato’s team over the years and also seen in the lead up to last week’s fight was his younger brother, 11-year-old Jurek Plodzicki-Faoagali.
“Yes, he has been by my side for every training session since he could walk,” said Tupuola Seua’i. “He has been my water boy, and as he got a bit older, my training companion.”
“Jurek has basically been brought up in the boxing gym, and would follow me around as my shadow everywhere I go,” Ato smiles.
Preparation for a fight or tournament is normally a 10-week intensive training camp and Ato shares with us what that would look like.
“We would do running or sprints three or four times a week in the mornings, depending on the sparring sessions..”
“And then there’s strength & conditioning twice a week also in the morning, so that happens in the alternative mornings from running”.
“Boxing training every evening, six days a week. And then rest on Sunday.
What’s next on the cards for Ato is his second fight, which he hopes will be scheduled in the not too distant future.
“God willing my Management and Marist Boxing promotional team will try to organise my second pro fight before June next next year before I focus back on preparations for the next Olympic qualifications at the end of 2023.
As he enters pro boxing, Ato acknowledges his Faoagali and Plodzicki families, who have been there from Day 1 to help finance his tournaments and campaigns.
“There have been so many challenges with limited resources but my family on both sides have been there and always come through for me,” says the Pacific Games gold medalist.
“That’s why they’re calld Team A.T.O. (Against the Odds),” he laughs.
Tupuola Seua’i will be in Samoa with his management team and family until this weekend, 3rd of December.
“We love it here in Samoa, and will take the time to see the sights our beautiful islands.”