Kaiviti Silktails sponsor and Fiji Heavyweight contender Puna Rasaubale lost his bout last Friday night but has so much to be proud of in what was an amazing heavyweight fight. At 37 years of age, taking on a man 10 years younger, Team Puna brought an energy to the promotion in Fiji never seen before – an excitement that only he can bring.
Despite the disappointment of being told at the weigh in that the Fiji Heavyweight Title was off the table due to his Australian citizenship, Puna pushed that aside and fought all the way to the end. That and the original fight start time of 10pm being pushed back to 1am, by the time the fight started Puna stayed the distance and in a lot of people’s eyes did enough to win or at least get a draw.
Puna’s trainer Johnny Barra from Kensington in Sydney thought Puna made Singh miss so many times on the night but was concerned he wouldn’t be rewarded for that.
“Puna made him miss on so many occasions and blocked and countered so many shots but when you come to someone’s back yard sometimes that’s not enough,” said Barra.
“I thought the draw was probably the best we would get in this environment and one of the judges saw it that way. It was an amazing fight and I think both fighters surprised everyone going the 10 rounds the way they did. Best part is that both boys have agreed to do it again so we can go back to the drawing board and learn from this.”
Silktails Executive Director Stephen Driscoll, who also doubles as Puna’s Advisor and S&C Coach, shared his thoughts on Puna’s performance.
“What people don’t know is that Puna has already won in his life, after walking into my gym at 138kgs 2 years ago after battling drug addiction and a career of regret as a former Fiji International Rugby League Player and Commonwealth Games Amateur Boxing Representative for Fiji.”
Puna weighed in for his first comeback fight last year 118kgs and this fight at 108kgs with only one competitive round under his belt after taking former Australian Heavyweight Champion Paul Gallen the distance in 2017.
“Puna’s major motivation for this fight was to have an impact on the sport here in Fiji. I think the build-up, the weigh in and the fact that there was 5000 people at the event showed that. That along with the plans we have to set up more boxing gyms in Fiji and launch an exciting Boxing Youth Initiative through the Kaiviti Silktails Community Youth Program is what drives Puna and his team at the moment.”
“Puna has a great business in Australia and a beautiful wife and son, and they are expecting their second child. Life is good for Puna and being able to perform at this level again in the boxing ring is an achievement in itself.”
When asked if the title being taken off the line and the late start time affected Puna’s performance, Driscoll responded with an emphatic “no”.
“James and Puna have agreed to do it again and I think they have both proven to everyone they can do the 10 rounds. In hindsight that will make the rematch even better. With regard to the 1am start, both fighters were affected. From what I saw I do feel that James’ team handled that part better and we definitely could have been better at managing that. We’ll review that part as a team when we get back to Sydney this week.”
Team Puna would like to thank its Sponsors for all their support:
Kaiviti Silktails Rugby League Football Club, Fiji Airways, Killa Boxing, EPM Allure, TeQwise, Pacifc Facility Services, Agilis Chartered Accountants, Again Faster, Happy Gloves Boxing Lautoka and Eastern Suburbs PCYC.