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ASBA brings home the Samoa Cup after a 4-year drought

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Boxing Association (ASBA) team took home the Samoa Cup after winning the Samoa Flag Day 2022 Boxing Championship last week. The 3-day Flag Day Annual Boxing Championship was held at Tuanaimato, Apia during the Teuila Festival this month.

The seven-member boxing team was overjoyed after a four-year drought of coming home empty handed. 

Their coach, Sala Sanele Etuvale, was very proud of his fighters and said, “They exceeded all my expectations and did well for a small team. 

“There were all sorts of emotions going through my head as the team headed into the final bouts. They dug deep and we are really happy, pleased to get the opportunity to get our hands on the trophy.”

Sala, a former champion for both Samoa and American Samoa during his prime said to the Samoa News that it has been 17 years that American Samoa has been competing in the competition and that they were excited to bring the cup home again after long hours of training.

“This year was awesome, the management and the whole team were very excited on the efforts that we put in when we were in Samoa.” 

“It’s amazing that we brought the cup back. The fighters worked hard for this and they put in the effort.

“We spent two months preparing for the fight. It was so hard for them because the first thing that we aimed for is their fitness and physics, their skills and combination is there, but we are working hard to put it all together so that we could have a good match.”

The team is made up of boxers from several local boxing clubs in the territory. The team shows no signs of slowing down as they get back into weekly fighting competitions.  

Sala wants to invite all interested boxers to train with them as they’re planning for the upcoming Youth Boxing Championship in Apia in November.

I’d like to call up all the fighters out there. We are going to start a boxing competition every Saturday starting this week because there is another huge competition that is going to start in November, followed by the Oceania Boxing Championship next year. It’s good for our fighters to come and join us.”

The team of seven consisted of 6 male and one female amateur boxers. The amateurs dominated their bracket by winning all of their bouts and bringing home the championship trophy.

 The amateur team featured prominent boxers like 2019 Oceania Boxing Championship gold medalist Kaisa Ioane. At 81 kg’s, Ioane used his height and experience to dominate his bout, landing a few solid jabs on his opponent within seconds after the first bell went off. 

Not only does he know how to start strong, but also finished off his opponent in the third round when he powered through and pounded his opponent with body shots until the fight was called, racking up the victory tally for American Samoa. 

Kaisa Ioane holds his trophy won during 2022 Boxing Championship in Samoa during the Teuila Festival this month. [photo by AF]

A brief prayer ceremony was held at the head coach’s residence in Tafuna last Saturday to welcome the team — with families and members from local boxing clubs attending the ceremony.

The annual Samoa Flag Day competition drew in a crowd of 200 people this year.