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Temo's passion for teaching boxing

Monday, January 04, 2010

FOR 73-year-old Tevita Temo only death will stop him from continuing the job he has been doing for the past three decades.

Temo has spent close to 34 years training boxers throughout the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.

Now the former sailor with local ship Viking Ahoy, he said he wants to do his part in helping our local boxers.

Currently residing in Delainavesi outside Suva Temo said his interest in boxing started very early in his life.

"I was a very young man in the early sixties when I first started to box," Temo said.

"I didn't spend much time in the boxing ring in that very short time because my work often took me away from Suva where boxing was held in those days."

So the few opportunities he had during a year Temo tried his best never to miss any boxing competition when his ship is in port.

While he didn't have the chance to make into the national boxing team, the man from Nukunuku on the chiefly island of Lakeba said that issue did not stop him from continuing his interest and love of the sport.

"In 1970 I was lucky to accompany to a group of Peace Corps Volunteers on a trip to New Caledonia and it was while in Noumea that I was given an opportunity to train some young fighters," Temo said.

"I stayed in New Caledonia for a year before I moved to Vanuatu."

Temo said not long after arriving in Port Vila he began training boxers there.

"Even though I lived in Port Vila for only six months I managed to train some very good boxers."

"One of those boxers that I trained during that short stay later made it big in the sport in the Pacific region," Temo said.

That boxer was Philip Kating.

Under Temo's coaching Kating won a South Pacific Games gold medal.

Kating later went on to win the South Pacific Middleweight title when he defeated Benny Tabua in a title fight in Sydney Australia.

"I was just involved in the start of his career but I later met Kating while he was in Fiji but that time he was a professional boxer," Temo said.

After six month's in Vanuatu Temo moved to the Solomon Islands where he continued to make good use his skills as a trainer.

"I was in the Solomon's for four years."

"During that time I managed to train some very good boxers some who late made their mark in the amateur ranks in the Pacific region," Temo said. One of his young products was J Makara who later won Gold for Solomon Islands.

After four successful years in Honiara Temo continued his journey but this time he landed in the land of the Long White Clouds.

"I spent 11 years in New Zealand where I worked with some of the best fighters in the country," Temo said.

"I worked at a boxing gym in Otara and I was fortunate to have worked with one of New Zealand's top boxer in David Tua."

"He used to come in once in a while and train at the gym and during that time I saw what a dangerous fighter he was and I was not surprised he made it big in the boxing world," Temo said.

Temo said another fighter he helped at the gym in Otara was Tongan Olympic Gold Medalist Paea Wolfgramm.

"I had a very fruitful and enjoyable time in New Zealand during those 11 years," Temo said.

Australia was his next destination.

Temo said spent another three years training fighters in Australia before he returned home in 2003.

"I came home just before the 2003 SPG and I offered my services to the Fiji Amateur boxing team that year," Temo said.

"Because the team had its coach I use come and help give a few tips and massage the boys after training."

"Because a system was already in place for the team I just did what I could do to help the team do well," Temo said

Temo said local company Courts bought tickets for him so he was able to attend all the Fiji boxing teams performance's during the 2003 SPG in Suva.

"I was happy with what I saw from our boys and some of them like Osea Nakanacagi, Vitori Natawake, Metui Coriakula and Ulaiasi Qalomai."

"They not only did themselves proud but also the country with their good performances," Temo said.

The man from Nukunuku continued to lend a hand to Fiji amateur boxing helping with training for the Samoa SPG in 2007 and also during the preparation for the Cook Islands Mini SPG.

"I have now been appointed manager of the Fiji team and I will continue to do this work of helping our boxers until I don't have the strength to do it," Temo said.

"I have given more than 30 of my life helping those who need help in boxing and I will continue to do it."

He has even built a boxing gym beside his house in Delainavesi to help whoever needs assistant.

"I have looked after my life well and I can say I enjoy what talent God has given me - so I'm just passing on the knowledge to anyone who wants to learn," Temo said.

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