One-way traffic for Sam Rapira against Atalili Fai
"I was overwhelming him which was good"TONY BIRD
Sam "The Terror" Rapira made it three from three in his professional boxing career.
The New Plymouth boxer stopped Atalili Fai late in the third round on the undercard of the Joseph Parker v "King" Afa Tatupu fight night in Auckland last night.
In a one-sided contest, Rapira pummelled his Samoan opponent from the start, landing shots to Fai's body and head in the opening two rounds.
Fai soaked up the punishment and spent much of the time in survival mode.
Rapira made a flurry of punches count with 40 seconds left in the third when he dropped Fai to the canvas with a string of body punches. The referee then stopped the fight.
It was Rapira's third fight having won both previous bouts, the first against Scott Taliauli in the third round in New Plymouth last April and the other when knocking out Tongan Viliami Toafi in just over two minutes.
"In the first couple of rounds I think I was a little over eager to get the job done," Rapira said in the dressing room after the fight.
"I was overwhelming him which was good, but Fai was just shelling up and doing a good job on his defence while I was punching the whole time, but I just couldn't land a clean one."
Rapira said his trainer Lolo Heimuli offered words of advice after the first round which soon paid dividends.
"I listened to my corner who said mix the power and try and create an opening for Fai to give him confidence to come forward.
"When he did come forward I started landing some good shots then I landed one to the head and opened it up to the body which is what really hurt him.
"He's had a lot of fights in his career and learnt a lot of tricks on how to survive so it was a good lesson for me."
Rapira said he had never felt fitter than when stepping into the ring last night. "It's a good confidence booster for me," said the light heavyweight.
Rapira copped a few blows from Fai on his way to his win.
"He got a couple through and that was a good lesson for me to tighten my defence up when I land shots."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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