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Vaitele Soi Keeps His Mother’s Hope Alive

Vaitele Soi Keeps His Mother’s Hope Alive
Source: eventpolynesia.com

Vaitele Soi’s win on Friday night at the Auckland Boxing Association stadium, although unconvincing, is another win closer to realizing his mother Sulufaiga’s dream - a decent home and a bread earner for the family.

The majority win after six rounds against New Zealand heavyweight slugger Junior Iakopo in front of a full house which included David Higgins and Dean Lonergan of Duco Events takes Soi’s professional record to an impressive 20 wins from 20 fights, 14 by way of knock out; 13 of the fights in NZ.

Vaitele’s father who passed away in 2003, never saw his son fight as a professional boxer; nor contemplated that his son is one fight away from being a house hold name in Samoa and New Zealand. That opportunity will come if Vaitele Soi gets a call from Higgins and Lonergan in the next week or two to be on the Shane Cameron and Monte Barrett card in May.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer in January 2010 on the evening before Vaitele’s move to fight out of New Zealand, Sulufaiga, born to a Taga mother and Vailele father said, “The first time I saw my son with boxing gloves walking to the ring, I just couldn’t stop crying, and then I couldn’t watch him in the ring.”
In 2005, Vaitele’s step-father became a key part and path to Vaitele’s boxing career until last year, when Sulufaiga had to do it alone again as a single parent.

Early this month, Soi’s management and promoter Event Polynesia went public selling corporate table seats to the fight to fund Vaitele’s preparation and fight expenses after failing to secure sponsorship.

Pa’u Fereti Puni, managing director of Event Polynesia chuckled when he said, “I guess we have to be immune to being turned down especially after five years of soliciting sponsors and fundraising to get talented boxers from Samoa to participate in the much need tournaments in New Zealand and overseas. It doesn’t help with the world still in recession.”

In a remarkable twist, what was lacking in financial backing certainly made up with support on fight night when Samoa cabinet minister Le Mamea Ropati Mualia and Samoa Consulate General, Faolotoi Reupena Pogi joined New Zealand First leader Vaovasamanaia Winston Peters and New Zealand Member of Parliament Leaufa’amulia Asenati Lole-Taylor to cheer on Soi.

According to Pa’u, “Vaitele had to fight a heavyweight on Friday night because there is no cruiserweight left in New Zealand to fight Soi. We were hoping that his last fight was for the New Zealand cruiserweight title but couldn’t secure an opponent. That leaves just Shane Cameron for a future show down. At the moment, Soi is ready to take on Australia’s top cruiserweights.”

Pa’u said, “Vaitele has bragging rights to beating some of New Zealand’s finest fighters like kickboxing legend Shane “Chopper” Chapman and former WBO African champ and current NZNBF cruiserweight champion Mohamed Azzaoui.”

Today Sulufaiga no longer cries nor turns away, only the usual prayer that His will be done. One thing is for sure, Vaitele knows the meaning of his mother’s name and if things don’t go well, he will find solace there.


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