Fighting for his son
Just over a year ago, American Samoa’s very first professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and professional MMA champion, Malaetasi Deutsch Puu laid down his MMA gloves in the cage after a first round TKO win over the heavily favored former Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC) championship contender Wesley ‘Cabbage’ Correira. Soon after that fight, Puu retired from the fight scene putting 30 plus years to rest in honor of his late mother, as it was her dying wish for her son to retire from fighting.
Retired for 14 months, he set about mentoring and coaching his Hawaiian Fighting Arts-Oahu (HFA-O) team in boxing, kickboxing and MMA. As a coach, Puu’s students managed to secure a total of five championship belts and one National Champion under his coaching. He also had four champions in MMA and one in kickboxing.
Of the four MMA championship belts, two are currently held by his star student, American Samoa’s CJ Floor. Floor currently holds the Star Elite Championship Light Heavyweight belt and most recently the UMMAF U.S. National MMA Championship belt he won in Las Vegas last month.
Puu recently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he is the Muaythai/ Kickboxing coach for the World Renowned ‘Cobra Kai Jiu Jitsu’ in the former home of UFC Welterweight World Champion Johnny Hendricks. Puu is also the MMA coach for Hawaiian Fighting Arts-Las Vegas under SIFU Joseph Solis.
On March 31 this year, Puu publicly announced on social media that he was returning to fighting, stating that the main reason for the return is for his disabled son Deutsch Puu Jr, a.k.a, DeeJay ‘The Champ’ Puu.
Puu’s son ‘The Champ’ is just four years old. He is fighting a rare disease called Spinal Muscle Atrophy (SMA) Type 1. Three years ago, both of his lungs collapsed causing him to undergo surgery for Tracheostomy and a G-tube. He is currently on 24-hour ventilator support.
“My son has a need and I will do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I can to be the provider that I am. I know that my mother would understand, because even she would do anything for me and my siblings,” said Puu to Samoa News via email. “I realize that DeeJay needs a transport vehicle so that he can get out and enjoy life and I plan on meeting that need by exercising my God given talents,” he explained.
He stated that after consulting his wife Eustasia Vaafatu Puu, his daughter Lenei, his management team and his trainer SIFU Joseph Solis, he made it official that he was coming out of retirement.
Puu’s first fight will be next month on May 1 at the Tachi Palace in Leemore California where he will be fighting for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Muaythai Heavyweight championship in a four-man tournament. “I am also looking to finally make my Pro-Boxing debut in the near future,” he said.
In preparation for his May 1 fight, Puu is now in Austria training and sparring with World Boxing Organization World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Klitschko is scheduled to fight Samoan boxer Alex Leapai on April 26 in Germany.
“I realize that I am helping Leapai’s opponent, but the truth is, I am a professional first and more importantly than that, I must meet my son’s needs. I am a big fan of Leapai’s and I will be at the fight rooting for him versus my sparring partner,” Puu explained.
Another Samoan who is an undefeated heavyweight fighter, Natu Visinia, will also be part of the Klitschko camp in Austria.
Puu in his email added a note in closing meant for Team Talavalu.
“I would like to say thank you to Team Talavalu for their representation of our country of American Samoa in the recent Hong Kong 7’s qualifiers, “Faamalo le faaeaea!”
“I also wish my Nu’uuli Manulele Tausala the best of luck as well as my Vatia Fuao. May the best boat win,” he said.
More on Puu’s son, the Champ, and his condition can be found on a special website set up to help raise funds for him and the special vehicle which will improve his life. Go to https://fundrazr.com and type in Deutsch Puu Jr. to learn more.