The Joy of Boxing spreads to Savai’i
Bodo Andreas shodow boxes with a Don Bosco student as the school watches
By Derek Davies*
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2017: The Director of the Fight for Marist Boxing Tournament, Tavu’i Mike Lemisio and former Australian Olympic boxing coach, Bodo Andreas toured the island of Savaii on Tuesday after the success of the Marist’s boxing event last weekend. The two visited Don Bosco College to address the children and generate grassroots interest in boxing as part of the Prime Minister’s new initiative to revive interest in the sport.
“Boxing is a very old Olympic sport, in fact one of the first. Since then, boxing has changed dramatically in the training, the teaching methods, the technical standards, scoring, even the type of gloves we use,” Andreas explained while on the one day tour on the Island.
After successfully conducting a boxing clinic for local Samoan coaches in Apia earlier in the week, Andreas visited Don Bosco in Savaii to share his wealth of experience in boxing as both a fighter and a former Olympic coach.
The Marist St. Joseph’s Sports Club and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi have been working to develop talent and revive interest in Samoan boxing. The addition of boxing to the Marist International Sports Week and the invitation extended to Andreas are both efforts taken by the partnership between the Prime Minister and Marist to achieve their goal.
In their visit to Savaii, Andreas and Tavu’i spoke with principal of Don Bosco, Fr. Mosese Tui, and organized a visit to the students and staff. The visit was an accomplishment for all involved.
Upon arrival, the students of Don Bosco sung an enthusiastic welcome for the German-born boxing coach who was amazed by the reception.
“I have never, ever experienced a welcome like that one, in all my years of travelling, it was amazing! Glorious!”
Students of Don Bosco also enjoyed the visit. Young pupils Feleti Fa’amaoni and Juliana Kay Amani both enjoyed a session of shadow boxing with the charismatic coach as the entire school watched in delight.
“It was such a joy, he was such fun!” English teacher, Sr. Monika Vaipuna exclaimed. “Something about his personality and energy really spoke to me. It was really good to have him at the school.”
After the excursion to Savaii, Andreas and the Executive of the Marist St. Joseph’s Sports Club will have an audience with the Prime Minister later in the week to discuss his future commitment to further develop boxing in Samoa and perhaps, lock in a date for a return trip.
* Derek Davies is one of three media exchange students from James Cook University studying at the NUS Media School. They are assisting the Media Team of the Marist International Sports Week.