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Samoa boxer Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali is heading to his second Olympic Games.

Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali


Yeah, you can boo this Samoan Olympian if you want

Pacific champion boxer Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki Faoagali says he has only one thing on his mind - win a medal in Paris.

Aaron Ryan
08 June 2024, 12:21am
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Once a 110kg prop playing rugby, he’s set to compete on a stage that’s breeding many world boxing champions.

Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali (Sa’aga, Siumu, and Tuana'i) will be taking part in the 2024 Paris Olympics next month.

The 24-year-old qualified by winning the 92kg division at the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

Watch Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali's interview with Ma'a Brian Sagala on PacificDays.

It will be his second time at the Olympics as he was part of the 2020 Covid-restricted Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021).

Tupuola told PMN that this time it’s different because he’ll have the crowds’ energy to feed off.

“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere especially, it’s probably the biggest thing to me, that’s what hypes me up the most is when I see the crowd.

“Even if they’re booing me, I liked when they booed me in England at the Commonwealth Games (2022). I don’t mind if they boo me or cheer for me.”

Olympic boxing is governed by a special set of rules. Only amateur boxers are allowed to compete, which means the Olympic Games are often the starting point of a glittering career for some of the biggest names in the sport, including none other than the late Muhammad Ali.

Between 1984 and 2012, male boxers were required to wear protective headgear, but the rule was abandoned for the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil (female boxers are still required to wear headguards). Each bout is disputed over three rounds of three minutes each for men and four rounds of two minutes each for women.

Photos/Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali

Tupuola has a unique record having won 10 National Championships in Sāmoa, one in Australia, two Gold Medals at the Pacific Games, and two Silver Medals at the Commonwealth Games.

The Sydney-based boxer has even sparred with stars in the fighting game - the likes of recent world Cruiserweight boxing champion Jai Opetaia and UFC fighter Tyson Pedro.

Tupuola said the Olympics is a great opportunity, however, he still has to maintain a job to support his daughter and pay his bills. This, he added, left him with not much time for himself.

“During the morning I train for two hours, have a bit of a rest then train at 1pm, then at 3:30pm. I get ready for work and at 4pm I start work. It’s alright because it’s something I love at least I’m a boxing coach.

“It’s much easier than before because I was working construction and I couldn’t hack construction. So I take my hat off to all the construction boys out there,” he laughed.

His road to Tokyo saw a lot of his trip self-funded. This year, he managed to secure sponsors, a strength and conditioning coach, dietitians, and a masseuse who helps with his training and recovery.

The Olympic logo combines three separate symbols - the gold medal, the flame and Marianne, the personification of the French Republic. Photo/Olympics.com

Growing up, Tupuola was urged by his family to represent Sāmoa as a rugby player but he said he told them he wasn’t a good rugby player.

After taking boxing seriously at 14 years old, he told his family he would take on the world of boxing.

“My biggest dream has always been to be an Olympic medallist, that’s always been my biggest goal in life, standing on the podium and waving the Sāmoan flag.

“Further down the line, I want to be a world champion such as the likes of Joseph Parker and Jai Opetaia.”

In preparation for Paris, Tupuola will travel to Fiji for a training camp and a few fights before returning to Sydney and training for five weeks. He will then join Team Sāmoa.

The 2024 Olympics is being held from 26 July to 11 August.

Close to 15,000 athletes will be competing in 45 sports, with most of them featuring in the Olympics while 4500 will be taking part in the Paralympics.

Photo/Tupuola Seua’i Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali