Favourite Son Remembered
One of the true gentlemen of New Zealand Amateur Boxing has answered the final ten count. On Monday 25 May 2009.Sinipati (Sinbad) Iva passed away in Palmerston North hospital.
Born in the small Samoan village of Savaaii – boxing became Sinbad’s life after coming to live in Wellington as a twenty year old , 1960 was the year of Sinbad Iva, as he annexed the New Zealand Middleweight title, and represented New Zealand at the Australasian Championships.
During the late 1950’s and the 1960’s, Sinbad along with brothers Leki and Lucky made many a journey into the Wellington Town Hall, on the Amateur under cards to the many Professional tournaments of the day.
One fight that is still remembered is a barnburner between Sinbad and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Wally Coe. With the crowd on its feet, Sinbad had to settle for a narrow split decision loss after nine minutes of combat.
Retirement from active competition saw Sinbad turn to the coach’s ranks. Coaching first at the Wellington City Mission, which is best remembered for producing 1950 Empire Games Heavyweight Gold Medallist Frank Creagh.
Then followed twenty years mentoring the fortunes of the Newlands Boxing Club boxers. Shaping the lives of hundreds of northern suburbs youth Numerous Regional and National champions and an Oceania silver resulted from the coaching skills and knowledge of Sinbad Iva.
An undoubted highlight of Sinbad’s coaching career, was the appointment as the New Zealand Boxing Coach, at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada. The appointment followed success as Manager and Coach at 2003 and 2004 Oceania Boxing Championships.
Dual bronze medal success came in Victoria, with Kalolo Fiaui and Trevor Shailer taking the third equal place, in the lightweight and light welter division respectively.
Testament to Sinbads determination was that upon retirement from being a Telecom linesman for forty years and ironically never having an accident he fell some thirty metres while trimming a tree in his Paparangi backyard , landing in a gully and severely injured for many hours his beloved Alsatian dog raised the alarm
He spent many weeks in Wellington hospital and months in Burwood Spinal Unit the outlook was bleak and faced with life as an invalid , with Sinbads determination and his families love he not only walked again but returned to the Newlands Boxing Club he loved coaching for another six years.
In recent years Sinbad returned to Samoa to assist with Samoan boxing. It is no coincidence that two years ago the island nation dominated the boxing events, at the South Pacific Games held in Samoa.
Sinbad will be greatly missed by wife Loma, Son Keri daughter Leilani and his four grandchildren – along with a multitude of Boxing New Zealand boxers, coaches and administrators