Jimmy Thunder

Ti’a James ‘Jimmy Thunder’ Peau

Apia, Samoa

Former IBO Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He recorded the World’s fastest knock-out victory in 1997 of 1.7 seconds not including the count.

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 Natuitasina Taimalelagi from his grandmother’s side.

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)

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