Ti’a James ‘Jimmy Thunder’ Peau (born February 03, 1966 in Apia, Samoa) is a former IBO Heavyweight Boxing Champion who recorded the World’s fastest knock-out victory in 1997 (1.7 seconds not including the count) against Crawford Grimsley (whom he almost put to sleep).
Thunder was bestowed the chief title Ti’a in Fasito’o-uta, Samoa in 1996. He is also the cousin of professional wrestling and movie superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and a direct descendent of the paramount Royal Chief of Samoa Malietoa NatuitasinaTaimalelagi from his grandmother’s side.
Thunder married his second wife, Iris Whitemagpie, a Native American in 2008. While living in Las Vegas, Thunder has experienced some misfortunes since retiring from professional Boxing in 2003, but latest reports from 2011 say he has overcome them and continues to train and work odd jobs. Thunder has three children in New Zealand, from his first marriage.
Thunder’s devastating power and natural boxing ability saw him selected in the New Zealand team for the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Scotland where he won Gold. In 1988, it was the year of the Seoul Olympic Games, and Thunder, being the leading Commonwealth boxer, should have made the cut, but was denied a shot to participate by the national selection team at the time.
Thunder faced a crossroads in 1988 on whether to remain in the amateur ranks or to move on to the world of professional Boxing, and against the wishes of Preston he went with the latter, hooking up with well-known Australian trainer Jack Rennie, changing his name from James Peau to “Jimmy Thunder” and leaving for Australia.
He won his first nine fights, a brutal series of knockouts before being knocked out himself by American Mike Hunter. However, he picked himself up and, in 1994, he decided to step it up a further notch in America. Initially he excelled, beating the well-respected Tony Tubbs and Trevor Berbick in a 12-round, unanimous decision.
It was during this period that he cemented his spot in boxing history, courtesy of young up-and-coming American boxer Crawford Grimsley. The actual fighting time of the bout lasted almost two seconds. It has been replayed all over the world, seen on boxing shows and websites, and racking up an impressive number of views on YouTube (see video below).
No matter how many times it is viewed, the power remains just as breathtaking. The bell rings, a hunched-over Thunder strolls out to the middle, hands under his chin, before he leans slightly to the left and throws a loping overhand right, which hurls through the air and finds the tip of Crawford’s jaw. Minutes later, Crawford still didn’t know where he was, his hands reaching towards the sky, jabbing at his imaginary opponent even though the fight was long finished.
It is still Thunder’s finest moment and the fight that he remains proudest of.
Highlights & Awards:
- OPBF Heavyweight Title
- WBC International Heavyweight Title
- IBF Pan Pacific Heavyweight Title
- Australasian Heavyweight Title
- WBF Heavyweight Title
- IBO Heavyweight Title
- 1986 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Winner in Heavyweight Division
- WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Title
- 1986 First Samoan-born fighter to win a Gold Medal in the Commonwealth Games Boxing: Heavyweight Division
- 1997 Recorded one of the fastest knock-out’s in Boxing History with 1.7 seconds (without the count)