Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Career-defining bout for Jonathan Taylor

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FEROCIOUS: Hard-hitting Jonathan Taylor is fighting for the NZPBA super-middleweight title in Auckland tonight. PHOTO: FILE
FEROCIOUS: Hard-hitting Jonathan Taylor is fighting for the NZPBA super-middleweight title in Auckland tonight. PHOTO: FILE

Jonathan Taylor has waited longer than most boxers for a crack at the big time.

The 30-year-old Tauranga fighter returned home after years living in Australia with a burning desire to become New Zealand super-middleweight champion.

And now the moment of truth is upon him.

Tonight in Auckland, Taylor takes on Jordan Tai for the vacant New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA) super-middleweight title and the IBO Oceania super-middleweight title.

It is the main bout of the Big Bash event live and free-to-air on TV3 and without doubt the biggest night of Taylor's boxing career.

Trainer Chris Walker, who also mentors Gunnar Jackson out of his TgaBox gym, says Taylor is ready to let his explosive punching power loose on former world kick-boxing champion Tai.

"He will definitely bring it on the night. Styles make fights," Walker said.

"Jordan is the sort of guy who will stand there in front of you and to be fair that will probably suit Jonathan as he is a fighter who is quite heavy handed.

"With Jonathan it only takes one mistake and if he catches you it can be over quite quickly. Jordan is quite a big hitter as well so it should be quite an exciting fight to watch.

"It will be an explosive fight and will it got the distance? I don't know.

"Jordan's background is mainly kick-boxing where he was a world-class competitor but in boxing experience they are very similar."

The New Zealand TAB has Tai the hottest of favourites at $1.16 to Taylor's $4.50 in the head-to-head odds.

But Taylor's camp is not worried about outside opinions.

"Jonathan is the clear underdog and people are writing him off already," Walker said.

"But you know we are quietly confident that he is going to prove that wrong [tonight].

"This is his chance really. He came back from Australia to win a New Zealand title so for him this title is held in high regard. He is really keen on this fight and really wants to pull it off. He is in with a good chance of winning.

"It will open up a few doors really. It will kick-start his professional career properly and get him under way. There will be people interested in him."

The fact the fight is free-to-air on TV 3 is good for boxing and good for Taylor, Walker said.

"It puts him on a big stage and if you want people to know you then you have to be on TV. There will be lots of people watching it."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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