Merewether, a former bronze medallist at the Arafura Games and Golden Gloves amateur champion, was Messam’s most experienced boxing opponent to date.
Winning the heavyweight bout via unanimous decision after four rounds, Messam’s professional record now sits at 6-0 since he made his debut in 2015.
“Still very much a novice in boxing, Liam wanted to test himself against an experienced boxer instead of taking on other rugby and rugby league players as he’s done in his other fights,” Cairo George of Team George Promotions said.
“He performed well with a very dominating win, and was very close to getting the finish when opponent Kyle Merewether was saved by the bell in the last round after being knocked down twice by Liam in that round.”
Team George Promotions also put together an exciting undercard between neighbouring clubs Hamilton Old Boys Rugby Club and Fraser Tech Rugby Club.
This saw the likes of Niue Sevens and former New Zealand Sevens player Jordan Bunce (Fraser Tech) enter the ring to face former Sydney Stars and Sydney University rep Jake Wainwright (Old Boys).
“We were so proud of the teams and the progress they made with 10 weeks of boxing training to prepare for this event. A mixture of rugby, women’s rugby and netball players from the two clubs,” George said.
“The night was a success - we heard nothing but great feedback from local businesses that were there on the VIP corporate tables, and some have expressed interest in being involved with future events.”
George said there were 40 corporate VIP tables - 400 people - and the general admission stands were packed as well.
Hamilton Old Boys were the overall winners, with more individual wins.
“It was a great event and all the fighters can be very proud of their efforts. It takes a lot of courage to get in that ring, so I take my hat off to them,” Messam said.
“Also, massive respect to Kyle, who put on a great show and was a very tough opponent. I wanted to be tested, and that’s exactly what I got.”
Merewether was happy with the outcome of the fight and grateful for the overwhelming support he, too, received from an event that was 90 per cent “Liam supporters”.
He was extremely grateful for the opportunity to fight such a strong opponent and is looking forward to crossing paths with Messam again in the future.
Since the fight, he has been asked to do a couple of professional fights. However, he is taking some time with his family until the new year.
Next year, he plans to continue his coaching at Nuki’s Boxing Gym in Taupō, and he will be involved in a couple of boxing events throughout the year - one of which he is hoping will be a home bout.
Team George Promotions will host the War in the Waikato event again in 2024, with the date still to be confirmed.
“We, Team George Promotions, pride ourselves on well-planned and well-organised events, so these things take a lot of time,” George said.
“For now, we look forward to Christmas and New Year before we put our heads together and aim to set a date in the first half of the year for the next War in the Waikato.”
To keep up to date, like Team George Promotions on Facebook.
Jesse Wood is a multimedia journalist based in Te Awamutu. He joined the Te Awamutu Courier and NZME in 2020.
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