CALL Rhiarna Ferris Hawke's Bay's female version of Sonny Bill Williams ... she loves it.
A New Zealand Sevens Development team member, Ferris, is eyeing an appearance at the Japan 2020 Olympics in that sport. She is also a member of Central's National League netball team and later this year will decide which code becomes the priority.
Next week she will move to Palmerston North so she is closer to the Sevens squad's training headquarters. That's an indication of what may get the nod and her outstanding form for the Wairarapa Bush side at the Central Region and national tournaments earlier this summer was another.
Tonight Havelock North's Ferris will make her boxing debut when she takes on Tamatea's Te Mahia Raureti in the only female fight at the Kelt Capital Kings of Club Rugby Charity boxing event at Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena.
Like Williams, the country's most famous cross coder in his many pursuits, Ferris is prepared.
"I'm excited because this is something I've wanted to tick off my bucket list for a while. Because of all my recent Sevens play, I'm the fittest I've ever been ... I did 19.5 in my last yoyo test," Ferris said.
Napier Boxing Club trainer Ryan Whittaker has trained Ferris for the past three months. She is hoping to use her superior reach to her advantage during the three two-minute round fight.
"I've put in the training ... hopefully it will be enough," Ferris added.
Mother-of-three Raureti, 31, enjoyed her first charity boxing fight in last September so much she wanted another fight.
She beat another Bay fighter, Jazz Taukamo-Apiata, by a points decision.
"Apart from a couple of sessions with my Tamatea clubmate BJ Bland I've trained myself for this fight. There aren't a lot of trainers out there who like to coach females," Raureti said.
She is aiming to become a registered amateur fighter in the future and, like Ferris, has played numerous sports including netball for Tamatea, hockey for Akina Rovers and rugby league for Omahu Huia. Raureti intends to counter Ferris' superior reach with a slipping technique enabling her to go for the body as much as possible.
Auckland-based American Clarence Tillman who fought All Black Williams and lost by a first round knockout in 2012 withdrew from the main bout against Napier's Kiki Toa Leutele. This was to be Leutele's professional debut.
Despite an extensive hunt organiser of the event, Magpies halfback Chris Eaton, couldn't find a late replacement. He was more successful in finding a replacement for Napier-based former Australian mixed martial arts exponent Ryan Heketa who withdrew from his bout against Hawke's Bay's Tip Maniapoto.
Aucklander Vaimoli Ioelu will take on Maniapoto in what will be Maniapoto's second pro fight. The 83kg class bout is scheduled for four three-minute rounds.
A 20-year-old southpaw, Ioelu, lost his debut fight against Taranaki's Sam Rapira by a unanimous points decision last month.
Former professional boxer Jason Rarere, 47, has come out of a 12-year retirement and will take on fellow Bay fighter Shaun Rankin, 30, in an exhibition bout scheduled for three three-minute rounds. Rankin is keen to turn professional and he says this bout will give him an ideal gauge as to where he is at in his quest. Rankin is also eager to redeem himself in the wake of a disappointing draw with another Bay kickboxer, Angus Benson, in the feature bout at last year's inaugural Kings of Club Rugby event.
During his 26-bout professional boxing career Rarere won five national middleweight titles, two Pan-Asian titles and was ranked in the top 10 on the WBA rankings.
A product of the Putanga Gym's glory days, Rarere, won six national middleweight titles during a 37-bout kickboxing career.
When he retired from fighting Rarere established a reputation as a more-than handy trainer and he trained or co-trained world titleholders including Mark Hunt, Charles August, Chris Johnson, Todd Wilson and Te Maia Jones.
Two members of last year's ITM Cup Championship-winning Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team, halfback Ellery Wilson and loosie Kaleb Sweet, will represent their respective Napier Old Boys Marist and Taradale clubs in the corporate bouts. Wilson will take on MAC's Colin Hokianga and Sweet will fight Clive's Rocky Pohatu.
The Jarrod Cunningham Trust along with the Nga Tukemata O Kahungunu Vocational Trust, which helps disabled adults rehabilitate, will benefit from funds raised. Kiwi rapper and hip-hop artist Sid Diamond, who has been Hawke's Bay-based for the past 20 months, will provide the halftime entertainment.
This will be his first major gig since moving to the Bay from Auckland.
Ellery Wilson (Napier Old Boys Marist) v Colin Hokianga (MAC).
Lance Wiparata (Maraenui) v Tianua Poto (Clive).
Sam Matson (Havelock North) v Mark Solomon (Hastings Rugby and Sports).
Reece Aranui (Taradale) v Clinton Vaiusu (MAC).
Kaleb Sweet (Taradale) v Rocky Pohatu (Clive).
Rhiarna Ferris (Havelock North) v Te Mahia Raureti (Tamatea).
Dillon Clark (Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports) v Nathan Pulega (Napier Technical).
Ted Walters (Napier Technical) v Mike Ward (Hastings Rugby and Sports).
Tip Maniapoto v Vaimoli Ioelu.
Jason Rarere v Shaun Rankin.