Tillman earns respect of crowd for delivering a good fight
Finally the “Heat Man” Alapati A’asa found a worthy opponent that gave him good competition in the ring, as Clarence Tillman out of New Zealand put on quite a show for the people of American Samoa this past Saturday August 16, 2014, at the Samoa Sports Complex (Bowling Alley) in Tafuna.
The Professional Bout was the Main Event of the night, scheduled to go six rounds — which to the surprise of the crowd — is exactly how long it lasted. While, “Heat Man” was declared the winner of the bout, Tillman was declared a crowd favorite by the cheers and applause he received during and after the fight.
Samoa News was backstage with both Tillman and A’asa, who were meeting and greeting the public, taking photos in the open pool hall with locals hanging out.
The fight was held just next door and was jam packed with over 1,000 spectators.
Some people who bought tickets for the fight had to sit on the floor, and a majority without seats were literally squeezed in all together. There was barely enough room for the fighters to make their way to the ring – a majority in that room showered in their own sweat, as breathing was uncomfortable and the high room temperature was unreal.
Cars filled the whole Sports Complex parking lot, spilled onto the sidewalk, going past the ASPA complex, and stretched towards McDonald’s, where they were also illegally parked. The former KFC and Island Pizza’s parking lots were also filled, with no one expecting such a large turnout, according to some who attended.
Before the fight, Tillman was trying to ‘psych’ himself into focus mode, as this was the first time he had to concentrate and focus with people all over the place. He told Samoa News that it’s different from what he’s been doing throughout his past fights, where “we have private rooms that no one can enter before the fight. That helps us focus, and we lock into that game mode leading up to the fight entrance.”
While Tillman was in a meditative state, A’asa was across the hall loosening up with warm up speed drills, combination drills and everything that he’s use to doing within minutes before the fight. His side was also crowded by the youth, and elders on island for a view of his work out before the fight.
In comparison, Tillman’s side was empty as anyone glancing from a distance saw the American Giant had his eyes closed, head down, as if he was praying or sleeping.
The ring of the bell to start round one sent the crowd roaring the Heat Man’s name, as A’asa came out to look for Tillman’s weak spots for the power combination knockout to end the fight – that was the same thing that the crowd was expecting, and basically came out to see— Alapati knocking out Tillman in the first or second round.
Their expectations were crushed by Clarence Tillman.
After surviving Alapati’s power combinations in the first round – Tillman was shaken, but he never went down, nor was the fight broken up by the ref for a countdown. Tillman absorbed all of Alapati’s power shots and combinations within the first two rounds, leading onto round three. Tillman was starting to release his big blows and surely dazed the Heat Man throughout the fight.
Onward to the final round, both fighters looked like they could barely punch one another, as a majority of their landed throws became useless in impact power, but still counted as points. They had their share of power punches throughout each round, but those exciting episodes lasted less than ten seconds from both fighter – these are the usual performances by the top world ranked pro-fighters in the 12th round.
Samoa News witnessed that A’asa had the upper hand in all rounds as to landed throws and thrown punches, as Tillman brought a tough competition, but shaped out more of a conservative fighter that would release damaging shots for a short period of time, then back to defense – and the judges scored the fight unanimously in points to American Samoa’s Heat Man , awarding him his 6th professionally win for the world records (now 6 wins, 5 KOs, 0 loss, 0 draw).
The American Giant was a crowd pleaser for his strong performance throughout all rounds of the fight – earning the people’s respect and he was approached and acknowledged by numerous locals at the end of the fight. As Tillman made his way out of the ring, he yelled out to the crowd “Thank you Samoa, thank you for having me here” as he was applauded by the locals.
During Samoa News’ interview with Tillman upon his arrival in American Samoa last week he said that he hoped the locals would want him to come back, and that, “I just might come back and live here, and teach boxing — who knows what will happen in the future.”
On the A’asa Facebook page online, there are photos of A’asa and Tillman at the McDonald’s restaurant in Tafuna, eating together and hanging out.