It's fair to say becoming a father has given Hawke's Bay boxing professional Toa Leutele a new perspective on life.

"You don't know the feeling until it happens. While I like being a father I still have to make sure I stay on top of my boxing. It's hard but I am coping," Leutele explained.

Four weeks ago Leutele, 25, and partner Rewa Tane welcomed daughter Mia Diamond Rose Leutele into the world.

"Leaving Rewa and Mia to go and do my training is tough but it has to be done," Leutele said.


The 2011 national youth super-heavyweight champion, who boasts a professional record of seven and a draw, will get an indication of how well he is coping when he takes on 2.16m American Julius Long in the main event of the Counterpunch Fight Night at Eventfinda Stadium (formerly North Shore Events Centre) on August 30.

"This is the biggest fight of my career. I'm excited and I've been training hard," Leutele said.

A Napier Boys' High School old boy, Leutele, had a second round TKO victory against Aucklander Jayson Aloese in his last fight on July 12 and resumed full training two days later. Aloese had previously been the distance with Junior Fa and Daniel Tai.

"Dad [trainer and former boxer Rocky Leutele] has been pushing me to the limit. He has been making sure all my punches are right. I accept I have to do the hard work and dad doesn't get the evils from me like he got earlier in my career," Leutele said with a laugh.

The Napier Boxing Club product recently finished his job as a kerbside recyclist for Green Sky Waste Solutions so he could focus on his boxing commitments. He trains three times each day.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings Leutele has weight sessions. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings he pounds the roads like he did in his former job.

Each afternoon he has a cardio session and every day finishes with a boxing session.

Leutele also benefits from the tutelage and promotional work of retired professional Shane Cameron, who believes Leutele will be challenged by the size and experience of Long who has a professional record of 18 wins and 23 losses.


"The American is a very big man and will be a real test for Toa. Julius is a very experienced opponent," Cameron said.

"Toa is progressing well and had a good win a few weeks ago, so it is important to keep him busy and keep challenging him. We will have to be really smart and have a good fight plan. Toa has plenty of power and is very fast and always wants to knock people out, so he has a clear goal of looking for a KO against Julius," Cameron explained.

In October last year Leutele knocked out Wellingtonian Thomas Russell to capture the vacant Universal Boxing Federation's Asia Pacific and New Zealand Professional Boxing Association's heavyweight titles.

Another of Cameron's new fighters, cruiserweight Joshua Francis, will be having a much sought after rematch against Alistair Boyd at the August 30 show.

The last time the pair met the bout ended in a draw, a decision which Francis totally disagreed with and this is motivating the Aucklander to rectify the outcome.

"Francis won his last bout convincingly but does not want to leave this fight in the hands of the judges like the last time he fought Boyd. He wants a convincing win by way of knockout," Cameron said.

Francis has had two good victories this year but Cameron is keen to keep him steeping up.

"These boxers need to keep challenging themselves to move up the ranks," said Cameron who believes that the boxing scene in New Zealand is having a resurgence.

"It is great to see the sport of boxing growing and some real exciting talent coming through."

In addition to the fights, a brief charity auction for the Shane Cameron Foundation will be staged. The foundation supports talented Kiwi fighters through the provision of coaching and development, boxing gear and funding support for travel.

Five professional bouts and five corporate fights are scheduled for the show. The event will be televised live on Sky Sport and will be free for Sky subscribers.

The show will start at 6.30pm. Pre-sale tickets general admission tickets are available for $45 and corporate tables can be purchased from Shane Cameron Fitness in Northcote or online from

Door sales, subject to availability, are $55 on the night.