Socking it to you with some TLC
With career highlights that include spending time with Sylvester Stallone on the reality television show The Contender, training with Mike Tyson, and coaching Australia's first winner of The Biggest Loser, Lawrence Tauasa's career seems more fitting of a celebrity trainer than a professional boxer.
The Samoan-Australian's star-studded career has enabled him to travel the world while fighting his way into the top rankings. He has an impressive professional boxing record of 32 wins, nine losses and one draw, as well as four title belts to show for it.
But despite his enviable career, Tauasa, 33, says he can't stand the sport. 'Boxing is this thing that I can't get the better of until I am world champion. I hate it so much that I want to conquer it. I want to smash it,' says the head boxing trainer at Jab Mixed Martial Arts Studio in Central.
On April 26, he will step into the ring against Australian boxer Grant Horwood for the Universal Boxing Organisation International Heavyweight Title at the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Kitec). If he wins, Tauasa will have a shot at the world champion heavyweight title later in the year - and a chance to finally love the sport.
Even though Tauasa maintains a fierce presence both in and out of the ring, the father of two is a trained home care nurse and a self-proclaimed 'softie' at heart. He also has a soft spot for food - his training regimen is not complete without his daily ritual of steak and eggs for breakfast.
Last year you trained women to fight in a white-collar boxing match. Who makes a better boxer - men or women?
Training women is easier than men. Guys have an ego problem when it comes to boxing and always seem to have something to prove. Women work their way through the problems and prefer to learn the science of boxing. They are smarter than the guys.
Can anyone box?
Anyone can box, as long as they have a goal. It doesn't matter what it is - to lose weight, to fight, to become more confident - you just need a reason to be there because it's a demanding sport. But I encourage everyone to box as it's a great way to boost your confidence. It's really easy to teach and it's really easy to learn.
Boxing is a brutal sport; what motivates you to get in the ring?
Boxing is brutal, but it is also well controlled. It's a science and there is more to it than just punching someone's face in. It is a like a chess game: make the wrong move and you take a hit. I am motivated to be a world champion and to support my growing family.
What's the hardest lesson you had to learn in boxing?
My dad, who trained me as a kid, used to make me run home if I lost a fight. When I was 12, he made me run for 30 kilometres in the dark. I hardly lost a fight after that. I learnt to be strong and train hard. Looking back, I know he had a good reason to push me and he saw something in me that I didn't see. I'm grateful to him for that lesson; he taught me to be a man.
How do you prepare mentally for a fight?
Leading up to a fight, there is a lot of training and preparation to make sure you are ready to step into the ring. I spar regularly against a range of different boxers. I don't train for my opponent, I train to be ready for anything. But on the day of a fight I try not to over-think and instead spend time with my family. Before my last fight, I watched Tangled and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with my daughter. Disney movies are a great way to take your mind off things.
What would you be doing if you weren't a boxer?
I would be a nurse. In fact, I consider myself a nurse and not a boxer. I see boxing as a really good hobby. It's given me an opportunity to travel, gain a worldwide profile and do things I wouldn't otherwise have done. But I have a soft spot for people in need. I love seeing the change in people and their progress when I'm nursing. In some ways, it's like training boxers - I love seeing that growth and the boost of confidence.
Tickets for Tauasa's bout plus six other fights organised by Def Boxing on Thursday, April 26 at Kitec are available from def.com.hk.