Jimmy Thunder

Ti'a James Senio Peau (3 February 1966 – 13 February 2020), known professionally as Jimmy Thunder, was a Samoan-born New Zealand professional boxer who held the IBO heavyweight title from 1994 to 1995. He held multiple regional heavyweight titles, including the OPBF title from 1989 to 1991 and the Australian title twice between 1992 and 1994.

James Peau
Statistics
Real nameJames Senio Peau
Nickname(s)Jimmy Thunder
Weight(s)Heavyweight
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Reach196 cm (77 in)
NationalityNew Zealander
Born(1966-02-03)3 February 1966
Apia, Samoa
Died13 February 2020(2020-02-13) (aged 54)
Auckland, New Zealand
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights49
Wins35
Wins by KO28
Losses14

Early lifeEdit

During his early life and amateur career, Thunder was known as Jimmy Peau.[1] His mother is from the village of Fasitoouta, and his father is from the village of Falelatai. Thunder was born third out of six siblings. They all grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.[citation needed]

He went to school at Onehunga High School in Auckland. His friend introduced Thunder to Gerry Preston. Preston took on the young Samoan into his boxing gym in Mangere Bridge.[citation needed] In his early amateur days, Thunder became the first Samoan-born fighter to win a gold medal in the heavyweight division, representing New Zealand at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland. He defeated Dougie Young in his hometown by unanimous decision. It was one of the nine gold medals won for New Zealand in that year. As an amateur he had 89 fights, finishing his amateur career with 83-6 record.

CareerEdit

Thunder turned pro in 1988, after being omitted from New Zealand's Seoul Olympic Games team. He changed his surname from Peau to Thunder in 1989 at the suggestion of his manager at the time, Jack Rennie.[1] Later in his professional career he also fought under the name James Thunder.[2] Among his notable victories are wins over Tony Tubbs, Craig Peterson, Trevor Berbick, and Tim Witherspoon. On the 18 March 1997 edition of the USA Network's Tuesday Night Fights he knocked out Crawford Grimsley with his first punch, scoring one of the fastest knockouts in history at 13 seconds.[3] He finished his 49 fight career with 35 victories, 28 by knockout. Throughout his career he won regional titles including the Australian Heavyweight Champion twice as well as winning the lesser IBO and WBF Heavyweight titles.

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
49 fights 35 wins 14 losses
By knockout 28 7
By decision 7 7
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
49 Loss 35–14   Colin Wilson UD 10 6 Dec 2002   State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne, Australia
48 Loss 35–13   Andre Purlette TKO 2 (10), 1:01 6 Jul 2001   Reno Hilton, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
47 Loss 35–12   Paea Wolfgramm TD 7 (10), 3:00 1 Apr 2001   Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
46 Win 35–11   James Lester TKO 1 (8), 2:09 9 Mar 2001   Reno Hilton, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
45 Loss 34–11   Charles Shufford RTD 8 (10), 3:00 7 Sep 2000   Teamsters Union Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
44 Loss 34–10   Monte Barrett TKO 7 (10), 0:52 24 Feb 2000   Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan, New York, U.S.
43 Win 34–9   Eli Dixon TKO 2 (10), 3:00 18 Nov 1999   Spotlight 29 Casino, Coachella, California, U.S.
42 Win 33–9   Tim Witherspoon UD 10 7 Apr 1998   Harrah's Cherokee, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.
41 Loss 32–9   Chris Byrd TKO 9 (10), 1:07 13 Dec 1997   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, U.S.
40 Loss 32–8   Maurice Harris KO 7 (10), 2:44 20 May 1997   Medieval Times, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Win 32–7   Crawford Grimsley KO 1 (10), 0:13 18 Mar 1997   IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S. Record knockout on first punch recorded in 1.5 seconds
38 Loss 31–7   John Ruiz SD 12 14 Jan 1997   Hale Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. For vacant NABF heavyweight title
37 Win 31–6   Quinn Navarre KO 4 (10), 1:38 8 Oct 1996   IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
36 Win 30–6   William Morris TKO 10 (10), 0:50 8 Oct 1996   IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
35 Win 29–6   Will Hinton KO 7 (10), 1:05 27 Feb 1996   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
34 Win 28–6   Melvin Foster TKO 8 (10), 1:57 3 Oct 1995   Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, U.S.
33 Win 27–6   Ray Anis TKO 7 (12), 2:56 8 Aug 1995   Spotlight 29 Casino, Coachella, California, U.S. Retained IBO heavyweight title
32 Loss 26–6   Franco Wanyama SD 10 16 Jul 1995   Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
31 Win 26–5   Bomani Parker TKO 1 (10), 2:36 17 Jun 1995   MGM Grand Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
30 Win 25–5   Daniel Dăncuță TKO 2 (10), 2:52 9 May 1995   Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
29 Win 24–5   Trevor Berbick UD 12 17 Mar 1995   Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota, U.S. Won vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
28 Win 23–5   Tony Tubbs MD 12 6 Dec 1994   The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. Retained IBO heavyweight title
27 Win 22–5   Richard Mason UD 12 29 Oct 1994   Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won vacant IBO heavyweight title
26 Win 21–5   Ed Donaldson TKO 2 (10), 2:52 27 Sep 1994   Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
25 Win 20–5   Marion Wilson UD 10 1 Sep 1994   Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
24 Win 19–5   Juan Ramón Perez TKO 2 (10) 3 Aug 1994   Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
23 Win 18–5   Don Mackay TKO 1 (12), 2:35 18 Mar 1994   ABCOS Stadium, Adelaide, Australia Retained Australian heavyweight title
22 Loss 17–5   Johnny Nelson UD 12 19 Nov 1993   Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Lost WBF (Federation) heavyweight title
21 Win 17–4   Mitieli Navuilawa KO 1 (10) 9 Oct 1993   National Indoor Stadium, Suva, Fiji
20 Win 16–4   Melton Bowen TKO 5 (12) 23 Jul 1993   Sheraton Breakwater Casino Hotel, Townsville, Australia Won vacant WBF (Federation) heavyweight title
19 Win 15–4   David Ravu Ravu KO 2 (10) 17 Jun 1993   Central Coast Leagues Club, Sydney, Australia
18 Loss 14–4   Henry Akinwande PTS 12 18 Mar 1993   Broadway Theatre, London, United Kingdom For vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title
17 Win 14–3   Aisea Nama KO 2 (10) 30 Jun 1992   Apia, Samoa
16 Win 13–3   Craig Petersen UD 12 14 Jun 1992   ASB Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Won Australian and Australasian heavyweight titles
15 Win 12–3   Young Haumona PTS 12 6 Dec 1991   Lumpini Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Won IBF Pan Pacific heavyweight title
14 Loss 11–3   Craig Petersen UD 12 4 Nov 1991   Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia For vacant Australian heavyweight title
13 Win 11–2   Aisea Nama KO 7 (10) 24 Aug 1991   Prince Charles Park, Nadi, Fiji Retained OPBF heavyweight title
12 Loss 10–2   Derek Williams TKO 2 (12) 1 May 1991   York Hall, London, United Kingdom For Commonwealth heavyweight title
11 Win 10–1   Rocky Salanoa KO 1 (10), 2:45 16 Nov 1990   Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
10 Loss 9–1   Mike Hunter KO 4 (10) 14 Aug 1990   Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
9 Win 9–0   J. B. Williamson TKO 10 (10), 2:47 14 Jul 1990   Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast, Australia
8 Win 8–0   Mark Lee KO 1 (10), 1:22 1 May 1990   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
7 Win 7–0   Mauricio Villegas TKO 4 (12) 24 Feb 1990   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia Won vacant WBC International heavyweight title
6 Win 6–0   Bernardo Mercado TKO 1 (10), 1:27 8 Dec 1989   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
5 Win 5–0   August Tanuvasa TKO 5 (12), 2:21 20 Oct 1989   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia Won vacant OPBF heavyweight title
4 Win 4–0   Andre Van den Oetelaar TKO 3 (10) 1 Sep 1989   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
3 Win 3–0   Mosese Vilia KO 1 (10), 1:18 14 Jul 1989   Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
2 Win 2–0   Kevin Barry KO 2 (10) 13 May 1989   Silverdome, Launceston, Australia
1 Win 1–0   Niko Degei TKO 4 (6) 8 Apr 1989   National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia Professional debut

Personal lifeEdit

Peau married his second wife, Iris Whitemagpie, a Native American in 2008. The two met in 2006 and got married at Whitemagpie's reservation in Arizona in a cultural ceremony. He had three children in New Zealand, from his first marriage.[4] His eldest son, Louis, was selected for the Samoa national rugby league team to play an Australian selection side in 2010. He also represented the Mt Albert Lions at domestic level, playing at second-row.[5]

After retirement in 2003, it was reported Peau was in financial debt. The Sunday Star-Times discovered he had been living homeless on the streets of Las Vegas in Sunset Park. World Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Thell Torrance reported Peau would ask for handouts and turn up to boxing gyms, offering himself for sparring work and was often turned down due to poor conditioning.[6] It was later revealed by close family he was given casual laboring work in a rehab center run by Native Americans and became a personal trainer and part-time bodyguard.[7]

Peau was arrested and charged for battery and substantial bodily harm after an altercation at a Las Vegas street party. He was released from the Southern Desert Correctional Center, north of Las Vegas, to US immigration, after his case was considered by an Immigration Court, seeing Peau in threat of being deported to New Zealand. Peau also had previous immigration issues, after being held by US immigration authorities three years prior until Whitemagpie paid a bond for his release after it was discovered he did not hold a US green card.[8]

Peau died in his sleep in Auckland on 13 February 2020, following brain surgery.[9][10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Coffey, John (3 July 1998). "Trainer adamant Jimmy Thunder can go all the way". The Christchurch Press.
  2. ^ Pascoe, Bruce (10 May 1995). "Thunder scores easy TKO". The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  3. ^ "Jimmy Thunder vs. Crawford Grimsley - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Former boxing champ held as US illegal alien". Stuff.co.nz. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Tough son of 'Thunder'". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  6. ^ "'Thunder' Jimmy Peau on the canvas". Stuff.co.nz. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Whatever happened to Jimmy?". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Jailbird Peau likely to be deported Down Under". Stuff.co.nz. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Samoan-born New Zealand boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies, aged 54". 1news. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies aged 54 after brain surgery". Stuff. 13 February 2020.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Mark Saris
OPBF heavyweight champion
20 October 1989 – 8 May 1992
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Justin Fortune
New title WBC International heavyweight champion
24 February 1990 – 21 January 1992
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Herbie Hide
New title IBF Pan Pacific heavyweight champion
6 December 1991 – 3 November 2000
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Kali Meehan
Preceded by
Craig Petersen
Australian heavyweight champion
14 June 1992 – 26 March 1995
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Vince Cervi
Preceded by
Craig Petersen
Australasian heavyweight champion
14 June 1992 – 25 September 1993
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Craig Petersen
Vacant
Title last held by
Riddick Bowe
WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion
17 March 1995 – 21 July 1995
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Jeremy Williams
World boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Lawrence Carter
WBF (Federation) heavyweight champion
23 July 1993 – 19 November 1993
Succeeded by
Johnny Nelson
Vacant
Title last held by
Danell Nicholson
IBO heavyweight champion
29 Oct 1994 – 12 January 1996
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Brian Nielsen