Boxing: Julius Long celebrates maiden boxing championship with 'brother' Conrad Lam

By Chris Reed

Julius Long, left, and Conrad Lam show off the gold they brought back from the Gold Coast last weekend.
Julius Long, left, and Conrad Lam show off the gold they brought back from the Gold Coast last weekend.

At close to 2 metres, Conrad Lam is almost dwarfed by his "brother" Julius Long.

Billed as the tallest active boxer in the world, Michigan-born, New Zealand-adopted Long stands 22cm taller.

Long by name and in stature, the 216cm, 39-year-old has had to wait an appropriately extended period for his first title.

That came last weekend with a split decision victory over Bowie Tupou for the WBA Oceania heavyweight title after 10 rounds at Jupiters Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast.

Long took the belt despite being deducted a point in each of the 7th and 9th rounds for excessive holding.

He and Lam describe each other as brothers. The Auckland-based pair train, spar and strategise together.

Last weekend they were in each other's corner and won together - Lam, 24, beating Christchurch-born, Gold Coast-raised Hasely Hepi by unanimous decision after six rounds.

Lam and Hepi both went into the fight unbeaten. Hepi's two prior wins were by knockout. Lam's fledgling 100 per cent record remains intact after three fights.

Long is approaching the other end of his career. His record is now 18-20-0 with 14 knockouts. He acknowledges he's had his share of losses but is determined to make the most of his belated success by retaining his maiden title.

Victory over Tupou who had a handy 26-4-0 record (18 wins by knockout) going into the fight, was a fillip. Tupou is known for his power and sparred with Alex Leapai in the lead-up to his title fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

Long's huge frame gave him a significant advantage - 27cm in height and 37cm in reach - but an extended training camp meant he was in "tip top shape" too.

He would be keen on a defence against Solomon Haumono, who was counted out after a ferocious fourth-round punch from Joseph Parker in Christchurch in July.

Lam, who flew back from Australia with the inaugural Pacific Promotions heavyweight title, wants a fourth fight in December and, if successful, a fifth early next year against Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen (5-0-0).

Both are acutely aware of the huge opportunity presented by a place on the undercard of a likely Parker world title fight in Auckland this summer.

Lam got into boxing because rugby was "not physical enough". Like Long he benefited from an extended camp before last weekend's fight. His fighting weight has come down since he beat the Brown Buttabean on the undercard of Parker v Takam in May.

Julius Long during his victory over Jason Williams at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland in October 2013. Photo / Dean Purcell
Julius Long during his victory over Jason Williams at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland in October 2013. Photo / Dean Purcell

The pair got to know each other after Long was flown to New Zealand in 2013 to spar with David Tua ahead of what turned out to be the latter's final fight, against Alexander Ustinov.

Long said he discovered boxing in 2000 after watching Tua's failed title shot against Lennox Lewis. The qualified chef fell in love with New Zealand, now has a Kiwi partner and wants to stay.

Lam praised Long's reach, ability to close the distance and move in and out fast. Long said Lam appears experienced beyond his small number of fights. These brothers in arms are complimentary as well as complementary.

- NZ Herald

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