Memories of Hawke's Bay professional boxer Beau O'Brien's amateur career flooded back as he did his homework on his next opponent.
"Harley is tall, rangy and quite slender. He will have no trouble making the weight and I'm short and stocky. That was the story of my whole amateur career. It will be a tough fight but I'm going to come out guns blazing," O'Brien said.
O'Brien will take on Aucklander Harley Love in a bout scheduled for 10 three-minute rounds at the Corporate Contender event in Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena on October 6. The vacant Universal Boxing Federation's Asia Pacific and New Zealand Professional Boxing Association's middleweight titles will be up for grabs.
It will be the first time a boxing event has been staged in the Bay with international titles up for grabs. O'Brien's Napier Boxing Club clubmate and fellow professional Toa Leutele will fight Wellingtonian Cory Enoka for the vacant heavyweight titles from the same two organisations.
O'Brien, 27, has seen some of Love's fights on YouTube.
"He was a pretty skilled kickboxer with 24 wins and eight losses so he has experience in the ring."
Event promoter Scotty Thomson pointed out that while Love is still into kickboxing, a sport he has won multiple national titles in, he has already made a big name for himself in boxing. O'Brien has recorded six wins, a draw and a loss as a professional following a 20-bout amateur career in which he recorded 10 wins.
This will be his first fight since winning the World Boxing Foundation Australasian middleweight belt with a fifth-round TKO against previously unbeaten Fijian Silevini Nawai in Fiji in June. It will also be his first since he married long-time partner Lisa Timu earlier this month.
"I've been living the life of a fulltime professional since the beginning of the year and I'm enjoying all the training," O'Brien added after a 90-minute yoga session yesterday.
Leutele, 24, will be having his first fight since winning an eight-man heavyweight eliminator competition in Melbourne last month. Thomson said Enoka has moved up to the heavyweight ranks after winning multiple national cruiserweight titles.
Should Leutele beat Enoka he will have the opportunity to fight Aucklander Junior Fa for the New Zealand heavyweight title.
"Boxers like Joseph Parker, Sonny Bill Williams, Shane Cameron and David Tua have had the New Zealand title."
"Whoever wins these two professional fights will see some big doors open for them. There are 60 countries within the Asia-Pacific region and if you win these titles you can get on to the American circuit," Thomson explained.
"Toa and Beau are both on a high and have been running hot. Toa is up and coming and has got the ability to take on Junior Fa. Some say he is ready for Parker ... it's probably a little early for that but I'm not his trainer," Thomson said.
In addition to the two professional bouts, 10 corporate fights scheduled for three two-minute rounds involving Hawke's Bay fighters as well as boxers from throughout the lower North Island will be staged. Thomson pointed out these corporate fighters are regular boxers, unlike those who train for charity bouts.
"They don't want to be amateurs but they don't consider themselves ready to go professional but fight regularly."
Former Hawke's Bay age group rugby rep and French under-21 prop Laurent Simutoga is on the card.
■ Tickets for the event are available from Ticketek and fans wanting to reserve ring side tables are to contact promoter Scotty Thomson on 021 190 0995.
Katie Hatton (Napier Boxing) v TBC; Ripeka Dwyer (Highlander Boxing, Napier) v Michelle Davies (Kapiti Boxing, Wellington); Declan Carrol (Napier Boxing) v Lance Moseley (Waihi Boxing, Taranaki); Junior Alivale (Highlander Boxing, Napier) v Charlie Rudd (Kapiti Boxing, Wellington); Nina Houston (Napier Boxing) v Stacey Loye (The Lab, Napier); Dom Leiataua (Highlander Boxing, Napier) v Tabai Tumanako (Lion Pitt, Wellington); TBC v Elliot Sharp (Kapiti Boxing, Wellington); Laurent Simutoga (Highlander Boxing, Napier) v Felise (SMAC, Auckland); Latoya Leutele (Napier Boxing) v TBC; Cody Thomson (Highlander Boxing) v TBC; Toa Leutele (Napier Boxing) v Cory Enoka (Bellview Boxing, Wellington); Beau O'Brien (Napier Boxing) v Harley Love (Auckland).