Monday, March 21, 2011

Pacific Boxers out in Force for Tua's Backyard Brawl

Original can be found here

A strong Pacific influence was everywhere to be found at boxing legend David Tua's Backyard Brawl, as the vibrant colours and sounds of the region filled the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre. The card ahead had a particular Island flavour, and the Usos had clearly come out in force to back not only David Tua, but all the Samoan fighters on display. Floral shirts and lavalava's were the norm and "cha-hoo" echoed enormous as the crowd swelled to over a thousand hungry fight fans.

Almost consciously removed from the magnitude of Tua's homecoming, the undercard provided a steady and entertaining ramp to the main event that featured a high calibre of fighter, including Samoan national champions and a former world titlist.

New Zealand boxing and kickboxing institution, John Conway, took his second step back on the comeback trail with a tough, although unanimous, decision win over human anvil Fale Saialoa. The early rounds were spent with Conway displaying the versatility and nous in his hands as he was able to control most of the exchanges. Saialoa became more aggressive in the third round, a strategy which culminated in the fourth and final round when he was able to floor an off balance Conway with a counter hook.

In certainly the most dramatic fight of the night, Afa Tatupu battered Junior Iakopo until the referee called a halt to the action in the second round. King Afa asserted his strength early, as he was able to drop his foe with the first hard combination he threw. Iakopo wasn't about to take this sitting down (literally and figuratively) as he came back to hurt Tatupu with looping shots. The rest of the opening round played out like a group of kids with fireworks: many explosions and a high chance of someone being seriously hurt. This would prove to be the case in the second, as Tatupu punched in sustained combination while Iakopo threw hard singles. With Tatupu still pressing, and Iakopo not offering any resistance, the man in the middle wisely called a halt to the entertainment.

Samoan Commonwealth Games representative, Leti Leti, made short work of journeyman Paz Viejo. Action was heavy early, with Leti's right hand being the most dominant force. Viejo attempted to rally, but was wobbled by a Leti right. Viejo then attempted to clown off the ropes one time too often and walked straight into an uppercut which stretched him out violently. The referee had no need to count, and the bout was called off in the opening stanza.

In the main undercard bout, former WBA world titlist Masalino Masoe returned to the ring, after an almost two-year absence, to fight Kashif Mumtaz. Despite inactivity and increased age, Masoe's class was immediately evident as he scored a hard knockdown with his first right hand. Mumtaz took heavy fire throughout the first, and was also forced to take a knee before the round finished. As hard as he tried, Masoe was clearly too many levels above Mumtaz, and his head was repeatedly snapped back by right hands and lead hooks. Still, Mumtaz's gameness could not be questioned, until midway through the fourth round when a cracking combination dropped him for the count.

Contact Crispin Anderlini to order images from specific fights


John Conway beat Fale Saialoa by unanimous decision

Afa Tatupu beat Junior Iakopo by TKO in round 2

Super Middleweight
The bout between Pele Faumuina and Gunner Jackson was declared a majority draw

Leti Leti beat Paz Viejo by KO in round 1

Light Heavyweight
Niusila Sieuli beat Warren Fuiava by split decision

Vaitele Soi beat Oscar Siale by split decision

Super Middleweight
Maselino Masoe beat Kasif Mumtaz by KO in round 4

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