Just over two months after landing a crushing right hand on Monte Barrett's jaw, Shane Cameron has landed the biggest fight of his life.
The 34-year-old slugger will fight Australian veteran Danny Green for the vacant IBO cruiserweight title in Melbourne in November, it will be announced today.
Cameron is the first New Zealand-born fighter to contest a genuine world title since fellow Gisborne native Tom Heeney was knocked out in 11 rounds fighting Gene Tunney for the heavyweight title at Yankee Stadium in 1928.
"This is the pinnacle of boxing - fighting for a world title - so yeah 100 per cent this is my biggest fight," said Cameron, who is in Melbourne today attending a press conference to announce the fight.
Cameron and Green will contest a belt that became vacant when champion Antonio Tarver failed a drugs test after his most recent defence - a controversial draw against Lateef Kayode in California in June.
Tarver, who claimed the title by stopping Green in Sydney in July 2011, was stripped by the IBO after testing positive for the anabolic steroid drostanalone, a substance used by bodybuilders and athletes as a weight-cutting agent.
Having been held by the likes of James Toney, Thomas Hearns and Tomasz Adamek - and fought for and lost by David Haye - the IBO title is a belt of some standing.
Stopped in successive fights by Tarver and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Green rebounded with a fifth round knock of Danny Santiagio in his last bout in July. At 39 the West Australian is clearly past his best, although he will be supremely motivated as he bids to become the first Australian four-time world champion.
"I'm fighting a three-time world champion so that is not to be sneezed at," Cameron said. "Danny Green has beaten the likes of Roy Jones Jr - so he has beaten the best. It certainly won't be a walk in the park for me. But as much as I respect the man and what he has achieved, I am very confident of taking care of Danny Green."
Having returned to heavyweight to dispatch Barrett, Cameron will now need to drop around seven kilograms to make the 90kg cruiserweight limit. While that will affect his power, he expects to have a significant strength advantage over Green, who claimed world titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight before stepping up to cruiserweight.
Once he returns to New Zealand he will head straight into a seven-week pre-fight camp.
"Now that is has come off it is the brutal reality of it," he said. "It is any boxer's dream, it's always been my dream to fight for the championship of the world. Mate, I'm looking forward to it. I want to bring that title back to New Zealand."By Steve Deane Email Steve