Kiwi Antz Nansen has been given a life-changing opportunity to join the Super 8 heavyweight boxing card in Auckland next month following the withdrawal of former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter due to a calf injury.
Nansen has won his fair share of domestic kickboxing titles, and has boxed professionally, but will be a huge underdog in the Super 8 field that includes former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world Hasim Rahman.
"In our gym ETK, our motto is `Respect all Fear None', my opponent will have two arms, two legs and one chin. Rest assured it's the chin that I'll be targeting,'' Nansen said.
Peter's injury occurred two weeks ago but hasn't progressed enough for Peter's manager Ivaylo Gotez.
"Fighting three times in a night is a physically different proposition to a one-off fight.
With the cooling and inflammation between bouts it's too great a risk,'' Gotez said.
"We want to showcase the best Samuel Peter possible, and this doesn't allow the specific explosive training regime required to do that.''
Peter will still attend the event, which has a $500,000 purse, as an ambassador.
Super 8 match-maker Mark Keddell was disappointed but acknowledged injuries were a regular challenge in the boxing business.
"For us it's business as usual. The strength of the Super 8 is that it's not just about one big name,'' Keddell said.
"The field remains the best ever assembled in Australasia, and Sam's misfortune provides the chance of a lifetime for a kiwi fighter to play out a real life Rocky story.''
The final fighter, who will join Nansen, Rahman, Brice Ritani-Coe, Kali Meehan, Michael Sprott, Martin Rogan and Alonzo Butler, will be announced tomorrow with the first-round match-ups set to be confirmed on Thursday.
Sky Arena, who are promoting the Super 8, have sent a contract offer to American Johnathon Banks, who also trains world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.