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
Medal record

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.

Early life

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. While born in Apia, he grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.[2]

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.[1] 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.

Career

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.[3] 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 the fastest knockout in history at 13 seconds, including the count of 10, which was not even begun, so it lasted 3 seconds, during the quick walk from his corner to the ring centre, immediately throwing the first and only punch with his last step.. .[4] 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 record

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 Australia Colin Wilson UD 10 6 Dec 2002 Australia State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne, Australia
48 Loss 35–13 Guyana Andre Purlette TKO 2 (10), 1:01 6 Jul 2001 United States Reno Hilton, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
47 Loss 35–12 Tonga Paea Wolfgramm TD 7 (10), 3:00 1 Apr 2001 United States Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
46 Win 35–11 United States James Lester TKO 1 (8), 2:09 9 Mar 2001 United States Reno Hilton, Reno, Nevada, U.S.
45 Loss 34–11 United States Charles Shufford RTD 8 (10), 3:00 7 Sep 2000 United States Teamsters Union Hall, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
44 Loss 34–10 United States Monte Barrett TKO 7 (10), 0:52 24 Feb 2000 United States Hammerstein Ballroom, Manhattan, New York, U.S.
43 Win 34–9 United States Eli Dixon TKO 2 (10), 3:00 18 Nov 1999 United States Spotlight 29 Casino, Coachella, California, U.S.
42 Win 33–9 United States Tim Witherspoon UD 10 7 Apr 1998 United States Harrah's Cherokee, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.
41 Loss 32–9 United States Chris Byrd TKO 9 (10), 1:07 13 Dec 1997 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, U.S.
40 Loss 32–8 United States Maurice Harris KO 7 (10), 2:44 20 May 1997 United States Medieval Times, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Win 32–7 United States Crawford Grimsley KO 1 (10), 0:13 18 Mar 1997 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S. Record knockout on first punch recorded in 1.5 seconds
38 Loss 31–7 United States John Ruiz SD 12 14 Jan 1997 United States Hale Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. For vacant NABF heavyweight title
37 Win 31–6 United States Quinn Navarre KO 4 (10), 1:38 8 Oct 1996 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
36 Win 30–6 United States William Morris TKO 10 (10), 0:50 8 Oct 1996 United States IMA Sports Arena, Flint, Michigan, U.S.
35 Win 29–6 United States Will Hinton KO 7 (10), 1:05 27 Feb 1996 United States Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
34 Win 28–6 United States Melvin Foster TKO 8 (10), 1:57 3 Oct 1995 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, U.S.
33 Win 27–6 Haiti Ray Anis TKO 7 (12), 2:56 8 Aug 1995 United States Spotlight 29 Casino, Coachella, California, U.S. Retained IBO heavyweight title
32 Loss 26–6 Uganda Franco Wanyama SD 10 16 Jul 1995 United States Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
31 Win 26–5 United States Bomani Parker TKO 1 (10), 2:36 17 Jun 1995 United States MGM Grand Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
30 Win 25–5 Romania Daniel Dăncuță TKO 2 (10), 2:52 9 May 1995 United States Aladdin Theatre, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
29 Win 24–5 Canada Trevor Berbick UD 12 17 Mar 1995 United States Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota, U.S. Won vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
28 Win 23–5 United States Tony Tubbs MD 12 6 Dec 1994 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S. Retained IBO heavyweight title
27 Win 22–5 United States Richard Mason UD 12 29 Oct 1994 United States Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won vacant IBO heavyweight title
26 Win 21–5 United States Ed Donaldson TKO 2 (10), 2:52 27 Sep 1994 United States Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
25 Win 20–5 United States Marion Wilson UD 10 1 Sep 1994 United States Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
24 Win 19–5 Mexico Juan Ramón Perez TKO 2 (10) 3 Aug 1994 United States Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
23 Win 18–5 Australia Don Mackay TKO 1 (12), 2:35 18 Mar 1994 Australia ABCOS Stadium, Adelaide, Australia Retained Australian heavyweight title
22 Loss 17–5 United Kingdom Johnny Nelson UD 12 19 Nov 1993 New Zealand Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Lost WBF (Federation) heavyweight title
21 Win 17–4 Fiji Mitieli Navuilawa KO 1 (10) 9 Oct 1993 Fiji National Indoor Stadium, Suva, Fiji
20 Win 16–4 Jamaica Melton Bowen TKO 5 (12) 23 Jul 1993 Australia Sheraton Breakwater Casino Hotel, Townsville, Australia Won vacant WBF (Federation) heavyweight title
19 Win 15–4 Fiji David Ravu Ravu KO 2 (10) 17 Jun 1993 Australia Central Coast Leagues Club, Sydney, Australia
18 Loss 14–4 United Kingdom Henry Akinwande PTS 12 18 Mar 1993 United Kingdom Broadway Theatre, London, United Kingdom For vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title
17 Win 14–3 Fiji Aisea Nama KO 2 (10) 30 Jun 1992 Samoa Apia, Samoa
16 Win 13–3 Australia Craig Petersen UD 12 14 Jun 1992 New Zealand ASB Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Won Australian and Australasian heavyweight titles
15 Win 12–3 New Zealand Young Haumona PTS 12 6 Dec 1991 New Zealand Lumpini Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand Won IBF Pan Pacific heavyweight title
14 Loss 11–3 Australia Craig Petersen UD 12 4 Nov 1991 Australia Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia For vacant Australian heavyweight title
13 Win 11–2 Fiji Aisea Nama KO 7 (10) 24 Aug 1991 Fiji Prince Charles Park, Nadi, Fiji Retained OPBF heavyweight title
12 Loss 10–2 United Kingdom Derek Williams TKO 2 (12) 1 May 1991 United Kingdom York Hall, London, United Kingdom For Commonwealth heavyweight title
11 Win 10–1 New Zealand Rocky Salanoa KO 1 (10), 2:45 16 Nov 1990 Australia Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
10 Loss 9–1 United States Mike Hunter KO 4 (10) 14 Aug 1990 Australia Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
9 Win 9–0 United States J. B. Williamson TKO 10 (10), 2:47 14 Jul 1990 Australia Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast, Australia
8 Win 8–0 United States Mark Lee KO 1 (10), 1:22 1 May 1990 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
7 Win 7–0 Mexico Mauricio Villegas TKO 4 (12) 24 Feb 1990 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia Won vacant WBC International heavyweight title
6 Win 6–0 Colombia Bernardo Mercado TKO 1 (10), 1:27 8 Dec 1989 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
5 Win 5–0 New Zealand August Tanuvasa TKO 5 (12), 2:21 20 Oct 1989 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia Won vacant OPBF heavyweight title
4 Win 4–0 Netherlands Andre Van den Oetelaar TKO 3 (10) 1 Sep 1989 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
3 Win 3–0 Fiji Mosese Vilia KO 1 (10), 1:18 14 Jul 1989 Australia Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Australia
2 Win 2–0 New Zealand Kevin Barry KO 2 (10) 13 May 1989 Australia Silverdome, Launceston, Australia
1 Win 1–0 Fiji Niko Degei TKO 4 (6) 8 Apr 1989 Australia National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia Professional debut

Personal life

Peau married his second wife, Iris White magpie, 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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

Peau died in his sleep in Auckland on 13 February 2020, following brain surgery.[10][2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Coffey, John (3 July 1998). "Trainer adamant Jimmy Thunder can go all the way". The Christchurch Press.
  2. ^ a b "Boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies aged 54 after brain surgery". Stuff. 13 February 2020.
  3. ^ Pascoe, Bruce (10 May 1995). "Thunder scores easy TKO". The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  4. ^ "Jimmy Thunder vs. Crawford Grimsley - BoxRec". boxrec.com. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Former boxing champ held as US illegal alien". Stuff.co.nz. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Tough son of 'Thunder'". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  7. ^ "'Thunder' Jimmy Peau on the canvas". Stuff.co.nz. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Whatever happened to Jimmy?". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Jailbird Peau likely to be deported Down Under". Stuff.co.nz. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Samoan-born New Zealand boxer Jimmy 'The Thunder' Peau dies, aged 54". 1news. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
Sporting positions Regional boxing titles VacantTitle last held byMark Saris OPBF heavyweight champion 20 October 1989 – 8 May 1992Vacated VacantTitle next held byJustin Fortune New title WBC International heavyweight champion 24 February 1990 – 21 January 1992Vacated VacantTitle next held byHerbie Hide New title IBF Pan Pacific heavyweight champion 6 December 1991 – 3 November 2000Vacated VacantTitle next held byKali Meehan Preceded byCraig Petersen Australian heavyweight champion 14 June 1992 – 26 March 1995Stripped VacantTitle next held byVince Cervi Preceded byCraig Petersen Australasian heavyweight champion 14 June 1992 – 25 September 1993Stripped VacantTitle next held byCraig Petersen VacantTitle last held byRiddick Bowe WBC Continental Americas heavyweight champion 17 March 1995 – 21 July 1995Vacated VacantTitle next held byJeremy Williams World boxing titles VacantTitle last held byLawrence Carter WBF (Federation) heavyweight champion 23 July 1993 – 19 November 1993 Succeeded byJohnny Nelson VacantTitle last held byDanell Nicholson IBO heavyweight champion 29 Oct 1994 – 12 January 1996Vacated VacantTitle next held byBrian Nielsen