This saddens me greatly.
I knew Prince and trained with him years back when he was boxing and I was wrestling.
When ever I saw Prince I smiled. He had the large, warm, smile one can only find in super big and super gentle Polynesians.
It is a sad sign of the times when a decent human is murdered over a fucking pack of cigarettes!!!!
All I can say is “Sore lo Solomoni”…
Drunken thugs reportedly killed a former professional boxer near his West Kola’a Ridge home in Honiara on Friday night in an unprovoked incident.
Prince Taupongi, from Renbel Province, died from serious head injuries after a group of youth threw stones at him.
Police confirmed the incident yesterday, but say they are still investigating the case and were not in a position to comment.
Neighbours yesterday told the Solomon Star the killing stemmed from an earlier incident when a group of boys drinking nearby went and demanded cigarettes from a relative of Taupongi who was selling betel-nut and cigarette in front of the house.
“The relative told the boys when they were asking for cigarettes that his uncle would not allow them to take cigarettes on credit,” a neighbour said.
“That’s when one of the boys grabbed a packet of cigarette and walked away.
“The relative went inside and told Taupongi about what the boys did.
“Taupongi came out and made his way to the group of boys who were drinking under the SIWA tank next to his house.
“From what I understand, he was not going there to fight the boys but to ask them why they took away the packet of cigarette without paying for it.
“He didn’t reach the boys yet when they started throwing stones at him.
“One of the stones broke his knee cap while others landed on his face and head,” the neighbour said.
He died in the presence of his wife who was attending to his injuries.
Another neighbour said the incident shocked the neighbourhood.
“Taupongi was a law-abiding citizen and community leader. He was a member of our neighbourhood committee.
“His death came as a shock to all of us who knew him,” he said.
Another neighbour said the community is working closely with the police to identify those responsible.
“We have already identified three young men.
“They will be handed over to the police,” he said.
Before turning professional, Taupongi had represented the country in various international boxing tournaments.
When he turned professional, he fought mostly in Australia under his Australian boxing promoters.
He was also a musician who had previously performed on stage at various concerts and had released a couple of singles.
National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands vice president international, Ronald Bei Talasasa, said the country has lost a veteran boxer.
“Many young boxers look to Prince as a role model and held high regard for him,” Talasasa said.
“He will be greatly missed.”
A close friend and musician colleague of Taupongi, Selwyn Do’oro, last night paid tribute to his fallen comrade.
Writing on his facebook page, Do’oro said:
“I lost my best mate today, a true friend and brother.
“We’ve achieved a lot together as a band (UN CREW).
“We were the front-men in raising a lot of musicians in our time.
“Some of them are still ‘jammin’ with bands around.
“We released three hit albums in 1997, 1999, 2003.
“In 1997 our album ‘living Song’ hit the airwaves in Vanuatu, in November that year we were invited for “Fest Napuan” making us the first ever band from Solomon islands to do so.
“Our UB40 like performance stunned the crowd, with Prince stirring the crowd on their feet during the whole show.
“Our band snatched the reggae Samick Awards three times in a row in the 90s.
“Our final performance was during the Pacific Arts Festival in 2012 in Honiara.
“We were planning a come back but we lost him just yesterday.”