X marks the spot for former Warrior

April 16th, 2014

"Who knew I'd be going to Japan?" former UH defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu marveled.

Tuipulotu signed with the Asahi Soft Drink Challengers to play in this fall's X League in Japan. He leaves next month. Former UH defensive lineman Saui Matagiese will be a teammate.

On playing for a beverage company, Tuipulotu mused: "Perfect. A match made in heaven."

Actually, Tuipulotu has cut out sweets and is adhering to a healthful diet. He dropped more than 50 pounds since his final game with the Warriors in 2011, and now weighs 255. His surgically repaired shoulder has long healed.

Tuipulotu also will leave behind an MMA career in which he was 2-0 as an amateur fighter. He said he went into that sport only to get "that rush again."

Tuipuloto said the X season runs from August through December. The company will pay for all his living expenses except food. He also will receive a $3,000 monthly stipend.

"That's more than a scholarship," he said. "I lived on a scholarship. I can make it happen again."

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Former Kealakehe coach Sam Papalii offers this update:

David Fangupo is enrolled at Cerritos JC. He lives with two former teammates from 2012 championship team — Giovanni Chanes-Rodrigues (6-1, 300) and Jerone Moeoge (6-2, 340). Fangupo is the No. 1 nose guard who also will be used as a short-yardage ball-carrier. Chanes-Rodrigues made the 2013 all-conference team. He has received 2015 scholarship as a center from UAB and North Texas. Moeoge is in the d-line rotation.

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