Two of New Zealand's best-known fighters have booked their tickets to attend Taranaki's first professional boxing title fight.
World-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Mark Hunt and Commonwealth gold medallist David Nyika will be attending Sam Rapira's NZNBF title fight against Wellington-based Richard Hackney, scheduled for 10 rounds at the TSB Stadium on Friday (September 12).
Sam says having stars attend is a massive coup for the event.
"Mark is one of the top 10 professionals in the UFC and we are lucky to get him here as he has a big fight in Japan on September 20. To have him attend this close to his own fight is awesome as he is the highest-performing professional in any of the combat sports.
"I share the same boxing trainer, Lollo Heimuli, and it is really good of Mark to take time from his own fight preparation to attend and mix with Taranaki fans."
Mark, who has just signed a six-fight contract with the UFC, also won a world title in KI and is a superstar in Asia, in particular in Japan where he has had some of his most epic fights.
Sam is also pleased that David Nyika - the Commonwealth Heavyweight champion at the games in Glasgow - is attending.
"I have been sparring with him in Auckland for the last three months as part of my preparations for the title challenge so it is great of him to come through.
"Having two of New Zealand's best fighters attend is a great opportunity for fans to meet them."
Sam says interest in boxing is growing.
The night's card features eight bouts - three professional fights and five eagerly anticipated corporate match-ups.
The professional bouts also feature Coastal's James Langton fighting Wellington's Ata Fai in the main undercard sponsored by Metro Fires, and the welterweight match up is between Waitara's Daniel Maxwell fighting Auckland-based professional Sitaleki Maka and is sponsored by McCurdy Engineering.
"The boxers are all training hard and it will be an awesome event to watch. We are nearly out of premium seats and we have had really good support for the corporate tables with over 50 sold. There are still general admission seats available so we are asking people to support the event and make it a fun night out," Sam said.