Ishmael eyes the bigger picture

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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Super-heavyweight boxer Ishmael Liaina and Coach Tom Lambert

Super-heavyweight boxer Ishmael Liaina and Coach Tom Lambert (Photo: Supplied)

It’s the first week of 2017 and no doubt everyone has come up with  different goals to achieve this year.

For Ishmael Reuben Liaina, he is already making progress towards achieving his goal for this year. Aged 25, Ishmael Reuben Liaina is a New Zealand-born Samoan who now resides with his family in Australia. 

He is the eldest of five siblings with roots from the villages of Leauva’a, Safune Savai’i and Saoluafata. 

He is a landscaper and currently a two times New South Wales Super-Heavyweight amateur Champion and two times Golden glove champion in Australia. 

Mr. Liaina represented Samoa at the 2015 Oceania Boxing Championship in Canberra Australia. So what is his goal for this New Year? 

Liaina has been training with his coach Tom Lambert preparing for the Fight for Marist II (FFM II), which will be held in Samoa next month at the Tuana’imato Sports Complex. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Liaina said he will be travelling with a team of four experienced boxers and coaches to Samoa for the Fight for Marist II.

“I was informed of the Marist boxing competition late last year if I was interested and took up the offer,” he told Samoa Observer. 

“My Coach Tom Lambert and I are in the middle of preparations for this trip and are taking training very seriously.”

However, he has a bigger plan for competing in the Marist Fight. He is putting in hard work hoping to claim a spot at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, representing Samoa. 

“I will be travelling to Samoa with a very experienced team of four fighters of whom are all Samoan and three coaches. 

PROUD SAMOAN: Ishmael Reuben Liaina during the 2015 Oceania Boxing Championship in Canberra Australia.
PROUD SAMOAN: Ishmael Reuben Liaina during the 2015 Oceania Boxing Championship in Canberra Australia.

“Damien Ato Plodzicki Vaughn Faoagali, who is the current 91kg youth Australian National Champion who has recently returned from Russia where he competed in the 2016 AIBA Youth world Boxing Championships and will be a fit fierce competitor in this competition. 

“Ivan Leafa, our 91kg Elite and myself will be looking to impress as we battle the heavyweight and super heavyweight champions of Samoa for spots at the 2018 Commonwealth games at Gold Coast Australia. “And last but not least the most Accomplished fighter out of us four, Jai Opetaia who is the youngest ever Australian Olympian and is a junior world champion trained by his father Tapu Opetaia, will be a hot favorite and fighter to watch on the night.”

Why have he decided to carry the flag for Samoa?

“I was born in Auckland New Zealand but I grew up in Brisbane Australia and now living and training out of Sydney Australia. 

“I was fortunate to represent Samoa at international level at the 2015 Oceania Continental Boxing Championships in Canberra Australia which was the proudest moment of my career. I am a very proud Samoan.”

Being a professional boxer wasn’t initially his dream.

“I have been boxing for five years now. 

“I first started just by chance when I got invited to watch a sparring day and saw that that this is what I wanted to do. 

“I have loved the sport ever since. This is a great opportunity for me to fight in the fight for Marist competition as I am gaining good international experience and my first time setting foot and fighting in my motherland.”

The biggest boxing event for the beginning of this year in Samoa, Fight for Marist II will also feature John Parker. 

The special guest for the night is none other than our very own Heavyweight World Champion, Lupesoliai La’aulialemalietoa Joseph Parker. Also on the cards are numerous other boxing talents from Australia, New Zealand and Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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