SPORTS

Boxing Title Back In Sorokoba After 30 Years

After 30 long years, a boxing title found its way to the chiefly village of Sorokoba, Ba. The late Filimoni Naliva, a heavyweight champion of Fiji always brought joy to
06 Nov 2019 12:54
Boxing Title Back In Sorokoba After 30 Years
From left; Savenaca Naliva and trainer Farmaan Ali in Nadi on November 5, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

After 30 long years, a boxing title found its way to the chiefly village of Sorokoba, Ba.

The late Filimoni Naliva, a heavyweight champion of Fiji always brought joy to the villagers every time he defended the title three decades ago.

His sons Savenaca Naliva and Filimoni Naliva Jnr are following into his footsteps.

Last week, the villagers and relatives gathered in big numbers to celebrate Savenaca winning the light heavyweight title of Fiji.

This was after he knocked out Joseph Kwadjo in the 12th round in the feature fight of the South Pacific Boxing Promotions in Nadi last month.

Savenaca’s trainer Farmaan Ali said: “We were accorded to a traditional feast to honour Naliva’s win by his fellow villagers. Kava flowed freely and it has never tasted sweeter.”

According to Ali, they prepared for two months for the title fight.

“I agreed to train Savenaca and prepare him for one of the biggest fights in Fiji,” he said.

“Kwadjo was no pushover. He was hurt from the first encounter and was going to come out fully prepared with all guns blazing.

“We discussed our plan to get the title. We set out a game plan and we started training. Naliva is naturally gifted boxer. Whatever techniques you tell him he grasps within seconds and demonstrates it like he knows it for long.

“Our aim was to pound Khwadjo from round one. We were going to show him how boxing is done in this part of the world by a real Fijian boxer. He was very experienced boxer, no one had ever dropped him to the canvas. He has fought the best in Australia and New Zealand and none could put him down. We were programmed to win. Naliva had never fought 10 rounds let alone the 12 rounds title fight he had signed up for.

“I changed Naliva’s fighting techniques and brought in few unusual patterns inside his game to keep the opponent guessing. During the rounds I could see Khwadjo was confused and he was unable to execute his techniques.

“The journey to winning the title brought him and I very close together. We trained together and our game plan was just between us. He was just fit enough to do the job though I wished I had more time to prepare him to my satisfaction.”

Many Fijians were relying on Naliva to win and give them a good feeling.

“Khwadjo is now residing in Fiji but the crowd were all out in numbers to support local village boy. Khwadjo’s attitude also irked many locals. He refused to shake hands with Naliva at the weigh-in and then in the final rounds he bolted after getting knocked out

“To be the best we had to beat the best. Khwadjo was favourite to win trained by Gyan Singh.

“But we chose to fight the best, beat the best and then become champion.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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