The Far North can claim a new national champion after Mea Motu won the NZPBA women's lightweight title at Auckland's Takapuna Rugby Club on Friday night with a stunning third-round stoppage victory over Taranaki's Tania Reid.
Kaitaia-born Motu controlled the contest from start to finish, overwhelming Reid with thundering body shots, which sent the 42-year-old to the canvas several times before the referee halted the bout in the third round.
It was Motu's most complete performance to date, the 31-year-old seamlessly blending her physical power with her technical abilities, the win confirming her status as one of New Zealand boxing's most exciting new talents, and showing that it is now a matter of when and not if she will be competing on the world stage.
"I was training for a longer fight; we always train for the whole rounds," Motu said after the bout.
Her record now stands at an impressive 6-0, with three knock outs.
"That was our whole gameplan, being patient and not rushing and trying to draw her in. I was more focused on what I had to do, and I executed it well. I showed my skillset was there, and that was all through my conditioning," she added.
The Peach Boxing-trained fighter came into the matchup in the best shape of her life, testament to the hard work she had put in during the build-up to the fight. And what made the manner of the win even more impressive was that before Friday night, Reid, a former ANBF Australasian lightweight titleholder, had never once been stopped in her career as a professional boxer.
("We) mainly focused on my strength and conditioning, and that was all Alina (Peach's) hard work. I felt stronger and more conditioned, more prepped and healthier," Motu said.
She will be back in the ring in two weeks, to face Natasha Norden at Auckland's Sky City Theatre.
Motu aims to keep active and increase her in-ring experience so that when overseas travel becomes less restricted, she will be in a position to make a run at a world title.
Women's boxing is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, and Motu's explosive style will likely see her attracting plenty of interest from overseas promoters.
Northland boxing fans can look forward to seeing her compete in October, when she takes on Gentiane Lupi, the former Women's International Boxing Association world super bantamweight champion, the third New Zealand-born fighter to have held a world boxing title and current WBA Oceania super featherweight titleholder, in Kaitaia.