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More sports brouhaha: ASBF takes back boxing ring

Local boxing coach, trainer and head of the American Samoa National Amateur Boxing Council (ASNABC), Henry Tavake, told Samoa News that Mapu Jamias took the boxing ring that he (Tavake) was using to train his fighters at the Department of Parks and Recreation compound, leaving him without a ring for his boxers.

“I came to the compound to train and saw that the ring was gone. I then found out who took it,” said Tavake. “That’s OK. I’m not going to cry over it. Me and my boys are still going to train no matter what. No one is going to stop me from training my guys,” he said.

Jamias is President of the American Samoa Boxing Federation and Chairman of the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) Youth Commission and will attend the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England from July 27 to August 12 as an International Technical Official in boxing.

Samoa News asked Jamias why he took the ring.  He replied, “The ASBF is the only recognized boxing federation on island and the ring belongs to the ASABF.”

“We have guys to train as well. We let them, the ASNABC, use the ring and it was abused. Our association had a meeting and we decided it was time to take the ring back,” he said.

Jamias went on to say, “I have spent over $1,200 of my own money on that ring, just for the lumber to repair it. I am grateful for the Department of Parks and Recreation for allowing the ring to be at the compound for the kids to train, but at the same time it is limited there and the gate is locked up at a certain time. That is why we have the ring at our Vice President Nikolau Mageo’s house in Iliili. It is a great location.”

He continued (speaking of Tavake) “ When they had the ring, they never thanked us one time for the use of it.” 

He added, “We have a lot of kids that want to train and I believe that the ring is not only at a better place, but a safer place as well, where it will not be abused.”

Tavake and Jamias are no strangers to one another when it comes to boxing.

Tavake was Vice President of the ASBF for a short time in 2000, but before that time, in 1998, the ASNABC had been organized.  It merged with ASBF in 2000. Then, late last year a group broke off from the ASBF to form the newly organized ASNABC with Tavake as president.

Shortly after forming late last year, the ASNABC then held an All Samoa Boxing Championship in October 2011 here in the territory as part of the Moso’oi Festival Week with 21 fighters from Upolu and Savai’i who attended as well as fighters from the ASNABC.

At that time, Jamias accused the ASNABC of illegal activities.

Tavake told Samoa News, “I have been training kids a long time in boxing. I am ahead of him on the game and always will be. That’s alright though. If he wants it, let him have it. I’ll get by. I have the best fighters around. I do this for the kids. I am not going to get upset over this. I am not only teaching my fighters to be tough in the ring, I am showing them how to be tough out of the ring and to handle situations like this in the right way, by setting a good example. We’ll get by until we get another ring,” said Tavake.

Currently, Tavake has a professional fighter named Alapati Aasa, who he coached in the amateur ranks for close to three years, making his move up to the professional ranks last month with a debut win during Samoa’s 50th Independence Day Celebration.

Tavake also stated that he will be holding a professional bout here in the territory sometime in the near future.