A champion New Zealand boxer is facing serious drugs charges.
Adrian Taihia, who holds the national super middleweight title, will stand trial in the High Court at Auckland in September on seven criminal charges.
He is charged with counts of manufacturing methamphetamine and single charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, supply of methamphetamine and participation in an organised criminal group.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which came after a 12-month covert police operation which ended in November 2012. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Taihia, 31, who appeared on the popular reality TV series The Contender in 2009, was arrested on May 24 for breaching his bail conditions while fighting on the main event of former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala's Triple Thriller boxing show in Epsom.
He was to have fought rising star Robbie 'The Butcher' Berridge in a long-standing grudge match on the May 23 card's main event. However, Berridge withdrew from the fight citing a hand injury.
Taihia instead fought Samoan journeyman Togasilimai Letoa, claiming the interim Pan Asian Boxing Association light heavyweight title with a 12-round decision -- a fight that finished around midnight.
Taihia was arrested the following morning for breaching a bail condition that he remain at home between the hours of 10.00pm and 7.00am. He was released on bail at his next court appearance and warned to adhere to his curfew conditions.
Boxing promoters looking at giving Taihia, whose fighting name is 'The Terrah', a shot at Berridge were unaware of the trial until contacted by the Herald.
"We were literally this morning [yesterday] discussing putting that fight together," said Berridge's promoter David Higgins of Duco Events.
"It is a fight fans want to see and Robbie certainly wasn't running away from it. Our view was that Adrian's time would come."
It was now a matter of letting the legal process take its course, Mr Higgins said.
Taihia was doing his best to focus on his boxing career and was in training for a fight on August 23, his manager Craig Thompson said .
"We're trying to keep him busy and give him some focus while the rest of this stuff plays out," Mr Thompson said.
"I know Adrian wants to get this upcoming drama behind him and move on with his boxing career. That's where he's at."