AmSam fighters continue to shine
American Samoa native Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are continuing to make headway in the steel cage, and recently, the Hawaiian Fighting Arts-Oahu (HFA-O) organization was asked to provide two fighters for a kickboxing fighting event, Star Elite Cage Fighting’s 'Man Up Stand Up' that took place this past Saturday, October 19 at the Filcom Center in Waipahu, Hawaii.
American Samoa natives Willie Lualua of Aua and Kimo Na’o-Afo of Faleasao, Manu’a answered the call to fight in the kickboxing event. Lualua and Na’o were later joined by other HFA-O fighters including CJ Floor (MMA amateur) who was coming into the fight off of a loss he suffered last month on September 27 at the hands of Ashton Castro in rematch.
In this fight, Floor would be fighting in his very first kickboxing match.
The coach/trainer of these HFA-O fighters is American Samoa’s former MMA World Champion Deutsch Puu who spoke to Samoa News via email. “Two days prior to the fight, I received a call from the promoter of the fight asking for a 205lb fighter to fight in the under-card in replacement of fighters pulling out of the fights at the last minute,” said Puu.
Coach Puu said that he was confident that American Samoa's 2012 Olympic qualifier Floor, who normally fights at the 185lbs class, was ready to fight, as Floor is in training camp in preparation to qualify for and represent American Samoa in the 2013 Oceania Games in the sport of wrestling.
“CJ is a world class athlete that is always in top shape and ready to go at a moments notice. I had complete confidence that CJ would be able to make his kickboxing debut and so therefore I accepted the challenge and put CJ in the competition,” he explained.
Floor, who is still fairly new to MMA and even newer in the world of kickboxing is constantly stepping into the cage against more experienced fighters and on the night of his kickboxing debut, the trend would continue, because he would be pitted against a more experienced kick-boxer named Mason Manu. However on this night when the bell sounded to start the fight, the Olympian Floor came out as the aggressor and stayed busy throughout the fight. He became successful in his kickboxing debut, winning by a split decision. Floor’s amateur MMA record is 2 wins/1 loss. His amateur kickboxing record is 1 win/0 loss.
Samoa News also spoke with Floor via email who said, “The fight went well. I didn’t have anything to go on to learn about my opponent,” explained Floor. “We thought he would rush me but he didn’t. In the first round when I jabbed my way in, he backed up and was close to the cage so I rushed him and we had a good exchange. I tried a few different things, but kept focus on my hands. I realize he didn’t know what to do when his back was up against the fence, so I kept using that to my advantage. It was a good fight, but I felt I had the upper hand the whole time,” he said.
“I would like to give a shout out to my family, friends and supporters in American Samoa and the mainland. Thank you all for the support and prayers,” he said.
Na’o-Afo fought his stable-mate Keegan Ho, due to their opponents failing to show up at the weigh-ins, with Ho earning the win. The other American Samoan native, Lualua,
a former boxer with the American Samoa Boxing Association, who now resides in Waipahu, Hawaii was introduced to and subsequently trained by Puu in the art of kickboxing and MMA. Puu explained that Lualua was originally asked to fight on the under-card for the promotion and he agreed to the terms. During Lualua’s training camp, Lualua was asked to spar with the person who was scheduled to fight the promotions champion for the belt.
“Lualua managed to knockdown the title contender twice in their sparring session and simply outclassed him,” said Puu.
Puu said that when Lualua was getting ready to fight on the under-card of the Man Up Stand Up, the promoter contacted him and said that the title contender was injured while sparring and was unable to fight and that the promoter was promoting Lualua to Title Contender status. “Needless to say, Lualua shined in the title fight, dropping the champion Chevis Antoque once in the first round and again in the second round,” he said.
According to Puu, Lualua outclassed the champion with a barrage of well placed leg kicks followed by very accurate “Punches in Bunches”. “In the third round, the champion was simply outclassed and at the end of the fight, the standing room only crowd that was made up of at least 70% of Samoan people, loudly cheered as they heard the announcer say Lualua’s name as the new heavyweight champion,” said Puu.
Puu also said that the HFA-O is slated to host the next Star Elite promotion at their HFA-O gym where Floor along with other HFA-O fighters Tinei Su’a, Loren Su’a and Rashard Goff will be fighting on the card, with the fight scheduled for December 13, this year.
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