The boxers have all made the weight, they’re pumped and ready to go and Whangārei’s biggest fight night is set to explode at Wāhine Toa II - the double world title event.
Kaitāia’s Mea Motu and Whangārei’s Lani Daniels will have fights for world title belts against international opponents in the sold-out event at McKay Stadium on Saturday night.
Motu will defend her IBO super-bantamweight world title against India’s Chandni Mehra, while Daniels will take on Australian Desley “Lady D” Robinson for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title in her hometown.
Also taking part is rising Kiwi light heavyweight and Motu’s stablemate Jerome Pampellone, who will take on hard-hitting Mexican veteran Rogelio Medina (41-9) in a fight that will test the championship credentials of the “Panther” (17-0).
Others on the bill are Zain Adams v Patthaphi Camton in a catchweight 83kg bout; Kaikohe’s Trish Vaka v Roseanna Cox in a catchweight 83kg fight; rugby players Matt Matich (Dargaville) and Kurt Benney (Kamo) in a heavyweight bout and Kye Hiko and Kenzo Patali, both from Whangārei, in an amateur bout.
An enthusiastic crowd flocked to the Town Basin on Friday to see the boxers weigh-in for the fight, cheering as they did so.
The biggest cheers from friends and whānau were for the two Northland world champs. Children from Daniels’ old school, Te Horo, performed a powerful haka for the boxer after her weigh-in.
Daniels’ first boxing coach, Renata Shortland, from Te Horo, was there to support. Shortland said he’d been with Daniels throughout her journey and was so proud to see her fighting for a world title in her hometown.
“I’m just so really, really proud of her and what she has achieved. She’s a real role model for Pipiwai and shows what can be done.”
He never thought he would see Daniels fighting for a world title in Whangārei.
Motu said she’s trained well and is ready to go.
“I’m feeling like a massive Taniwha, hello Tai Tokerau, here we come. I’m 100 per cent ready and I’m going to go back-to-back [title wins] here.”
She said coming from the Far Far North, where people were raised differently, would give her the edge, and her Pukepoto heart and soul would carry her through.
Daniels - the Smiling Assassin - said her whole life had been working up to this event and it was an honour and privilege to be fighting in her home town, in front of many family and friends.