Learn more about Tua Va’a and how he won his second amateur fight. Click play to view the short video, or read the transcript below.
Interviewer: Can you tell us a bit about who you are and where you’re from?
Introduction in SENĆOŦEN)
Hello everyone. my name is Tua Va’a, and I’m from here in the W̱JOȽEȽP Territory and I’m excited to be here with you guys.
Interviewer: Can you tell us about what happened last Saturday night?
Saturday night I had my second amateur fight, it was at the Brown House in a Esquimalt and yeah, it was a crazy environment, I won in the first round. I just kind of did what my coaches told me to do and managed to come out with a win. It was a pretty overwhelming feeling.
There were a lot of supporters out and I’m grateful for that. My old rugby teammates out of the Saanich community, and all of my Polynesian family also came out and it was just, it was, it was awesome. It was an overwhelming feeling, I had a lot of supporters there and I had a lot of supporters watching online and yeah, and I got, I managed to get the first round win.
Interviewer: How did it feel? Do you remember what your time was?
Honestly, everything seems like a blur when you’re in that moment. It’s a pretty crazy feeling. But I think it was a minute and 58 seconds. They’re two-minute rounds. So I managed to beat him just before the first round ended. So yeah, what happened was I pinned him in the corner and I fed him a couple of uppercuts and then came out with a flurry of punches and then the ref separated us, and then [he] gave him a standing eight count, which is what the ref is supposed to do if they think that the fighter could be at risk of getting knocked out or getting a knockdown.
Then after the standing eight count, he wanted to keep fighting. So, we came back to center the ring, and, I kinda threw an overhand right, which I missed, but I followed it with a left hook and I landed it. And then I hit him a couple more times and got another standing eight count. And then by that time their coach threw in the towel and said, that that was enough. I actually really respect his coach for making that call. I think, reflecting on it now if we had kept going, I could have seriously hurt that guy. And I know that’s part of the sport and I know it’s always tough to make those calls. Like I know my opponent, he wanted to keep fighting and he had that heart that he wanted to keep going. But at the same time, coaches have to protect their fighters.
Interviewer: How long were you training for this fight?
For this fight sometime in early April, my coach asked me, hey, would you be ready to fight on May 28th? And I just said, yes, I’ll be ready. So I just was training pretty consistently for it. I train at the boxing gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and then I try to make it on Saturdays as well. And on the days that I’m not at the gym, I’m doing my own road work on a 5 K-loop, or I’ll try to get in the gym and do some work in the gym.
Before that fight, I had another one on April 23rd. That one kind of came up unexpectedly, I think it was like the beginning of April still. My coach messaged me and was like, hey, would you be ready to fight on April 23rd? And I went, oh crap, there’s another one coming out that’s like sooner. So I said, yes, I’ll that one. I won that one. I won all three rounds and I won by unanimous decision. And that one was also overwhelming and crazy, cuz that was my first one and the nerves, the mental prep for it was crazy. So I want to keep fighting, I wanna keep training for sure. And then if opportunities come up, I’ll take them. But my goal: I’d love to compete in a tournament. There are provincials in March. And so I’d love to compete at provincials.
Interviewer: How did you get into boxing?
I really just got into boxing because I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the movement, I enjoyed working out and getting the sweat on and the community and the environment at the gym, really awesome guys. And so I just kind of got into it for that at first, and it was a way for me to just keep moving.
My dad started taking me to the gym when I was 12. Back then it was just doing some light movements and just learning. But at the time too. I, I don’t think I really enjoyed it that much. I think I was like I’m 12 years old, I wanna go play with my friends! But after a while, I started really enjoying it. Growing up, even I was a kid, I played soccer and lacrosse, I was doing boxing and I was playing rugby as well, and every night I had something. I would also play soccer for our local team here. I grew up playing for the Saanich Braves and I’ve always had a heart for the Saanich Braves, you know, playing soccer with my community and representing Saanich at tournaments was always something I loved doing. And yeah, so I always grew up playing sports and I felt like sports for me was something that really helped me just stay busy, stay healthy.
And also that feeling of being in the community, having people around you, that a game like rugby and soccer, right? Like you have your team that’s with you, that’s willing to put their bodies on the line and you win together, you lose together, you kind of bond together in that way. And so I just always enjoyed that feeling.
Interviewer: What would you tell anyone watching this who wanted to get into boxing?
I would say to people that boxing isn’t always all about just beating people up. There’s so much more to it. Yes, It is a big part of the sport, but in boxing, there are those fundamental values too, about respect and discipline. I would always encourage people if they’re gonna get into boxing to always have that mindset of being willing to learn, but also, you know, staying humble in how you carry yourself. And for me you know, I want to keep enjoying it, being able to go to the gym and, and kind of release some energy. And I want to just tell people that I would encourage people to try it out, cuz it’s a, it’s a good time.