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.
|Real name||James Senio Peau|
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Reach||196 cm (77 in)|
|Born||3 February 1966|
|Died||13 February 2020 (aged 54)|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Wins by KO||28|
During his early life and amateur career, Thunder was known as Jimmy Peau. 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.
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. 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.
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. Later in his professional career he also fought under the name James Thunder. 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. 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|
|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|
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
- Coffey, John (3 July 1998). "Trainer adamant Jimmy Thunder can go all the way". The Christchurch Press.
- Pascoe, Bruce (10 May 1995). "Thunder scores easy TKO". The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- "Jimmy Thunder vs. Crawford Grimsley - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "Former boxing champ held as US illegal alien". Stuff.co.nz. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Tough son of 'Thunder'". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "'Thunder' Jimmy Peau on the canvas". Stuff.co.nz. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Whatever happened to Jimmy?". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Jailbird Peau likely to be deported Down Under". Stuff.co.nz. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Samoan-born New Zealand boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies, aged 54". 1news. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "Boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies aged 54 after brain surgery". Stuff. 13 February 2020.
|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byMark Saris
| OPBF heavyweight champion
20 October 1989 – 8 May 1992
Title next held byJustin Fortune
|New title|| WBC International heavyweight champion
24 February 1990 – 21 January 1992
Title next held byHerbie Hide
|New title|| IBF Pan Pacific heavyweight champion
6 December 1991 – 3 November 2000
Title next held byKali Meehan
| Australian heavyweight champion
14 June 1992 – 26 March 1995
Title next held byVince Cervi
| Australasian heavyweight champion
14 June 1992 – 25 September 1993
Title next held byCraig Petersen
Title last held byRiddick Bowe
| WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion
17 March 1995 – 21 July 1995
Title next held byJeremy Williams
|World boxing titles|
Title last held byLawrence Carter
| WBF (Federation) heavyweight champion
23 July 1993 – 19 November 1993
Title last held byDanell Nicholson
| IBO heavyweight champion
29 Oct 1994 – 12 January 1996
Title next held byBrian Nielsen