Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Boxer returns to NZ, faces up to drug charge

Brice Ritani-Coe
Brice Ritani-Coe

Kiwi boxer Brice Ritani-Coe returned to New Zealand today and headed straight to court to face a drugs charge.

The US-born heavyweight made a voluntary appearance in the Manukau District Court, where he was sentenced to 150 hours' community work on a charge of cultivating cannabis.

Ritani-Coe left New Zealand in January 2008, dodging sentence on the charge he had earlier admitted.

Since then he has not been back to New Zealand and is now based in Las Vegas, where he has a 3-2-1 record as a professional.

After deciding he wanted to be on the bill for a New Zealand tournament in June, he got in touch with Kiwi authorities and decided to front up.

Ritani-Coe's lawyer Steve Bonnar said today the conviction "could potentially cause him difficulties with travel, depending on where he's travelling to. He's just going to have to address that in due course.''

Ritani-Coe is the only fighter who has taken Kiwi heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker the distance when Parker won a six-round bout via unanimous decision in California in May.


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