Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Boxing: Jackson triumphs in home return

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Gunnar Jackson lays into Australian Mark Dalby shortly before the fight is stopped in Jackson's favour at Memorial Hall on Saturday night. Photo / Andrew Warner
Gunnar Jackson lays into Australian Mark Dalby shortly before the fight is stopped in Jackson's favour at Memorial Hall on Saturday night. Photo / Andrew Warner

Gunnar Jackson made a triumphant return to the ring in his home town of Tauranga for the first time in nearly three years on Saturday night.

The New Zealand middleweight title holder has dropped down to super welterweight and was hoping for a competitive scrap from Australian Mark Dalby in his second fight at the new weight. But it was all over 2 min 10 sec into round two after Dalby seemed happy to stay on the canvas after another barrage of shots from the impressive Jackson.

The 29-year-old from Otumoetai took his career record to 24 wins (10 knock outs), seven losses and three draws with the victory but, ever the perfectionist, he was not satisfied with how he went.

"My punches were a bit slow tonight. I just have to relax a bit more, but once I found my rhythm then it started to get going. It could have been a bit better but, overall, I got the win which is the main thing," Jackson said.

"I am real comfortable, definitely stronger, faster, more mobile at the new weight. It opens up doors, especially overseas, and that's what we want for me to be more highly competitive at superwelter and hopefully start winning fights internationally.

"It is an awesome feeling to be back here in my hometown.

"You can't beat the feeling. All my friends and family came from Auckland, Whakatane and Tauranga and all over to watch me fight."

Next up for Jackson is to defend his New Zealand middleweight title at the Big Bash in Auckland on July 1 against former K1 kick-boxer Jordan Tai.

"It is only a couple of kg so it is not much difference going back to middleweight. I will put a bit of size back on and a bit more strength.

"I am looking forward to it."

Jackson's fight was the main event of the Clash of the Corporates 4 organised by TgaBox that included 13 amateur bouts and the return to the ring of Tauranga's light heavyweight Jonathan Taylor.

The older brother of Anthony "TNT" Taylor only needed one punch to finish off Wellington's Mike Junior Kapi after 26 seconds with the best right hook of the night.

Kapi never knew what hit him and took some time to regain his composure and get on to his feet.

Taylor, 30, has been out of the ring for two years but is now totally focused on winning the New Zealand light heavyweight title sometime next year.

"I have moved back from Australia to fight again and the goal is to get a New Zealand title. I came away with a loss early this year so I wanted to make a statement in my home town," Taylor said.

"I want to get some more fights underneath my belt.

"It was great to be fighting with Gunnar tonight. I grew up across the road from him and we played footy together at Otumoetai College."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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