A fully booked McKay Stadium will host two world titles for the much-hyped Wahine Toa II fight night on Saturday night.
While Kaitāia-born Mea Motu takes on Indian counterpart Chandni Mehra for the IBO super bantamweight title, Whangārei-born Lani Daniels faces Australian challenger Desley Robinson for the IBF light heavyweight title.
On Wednesday, the challengers were greeted with an energetic pōwhiri followed by some waiata and welcome by elders from Ngātiwai.
Challenger Mehra said coming to Whangārei had made her feel at home.
Hailing from the hill stations of Darjeeling in India, she took up boxing after being inspired by a Bollywood movie on Mary Kom, a six-time amateur world champion and Olympic bronze medallist from the Indian State of Manipur.
“Now just like her, I want to be a role model for the next generation of Indian female fighters.”
Mehra, who turned professional at 17 and has an impressive record of 12 wins, one draw and four losses, believes the upcoming match could be the moment she takes the crown and makes her country proud.
Defending champion Motu said her match-up with Mehra would make an “epic and ruthless fight”.
“I know she’s tough and a dangerous opponent since she has fought some tough fighters. But I’m not going to make it easy for her as I have stepped up my game as well.”