New Zealand super middleweight title contenders Jordan “The Terror” Tai and Sam “2 Guns” Loli were in prime shape as they weighed in for Thursday night’s BIG BASH IV main event in Newmarket last night.
Former kickboxer Tai (6-0 5KO) and the free swinging Loli (2-2) made the weight easily ahead of a clash that will earn the winner the vacant NZNBF title – and confirm their standing as one of the best local prospects in the division. The victor will also be in pole position for a potential crack at the undefeated Wellington KO-artist Joe Blackbourn – the fighter rated by independent website Boxrec as the top Kiwi in the division.
Tai, who has over 100 kickboxing fights under his belt, posted a knockout victory in Apia fighting on Joseph Parker’s undercard in his last outing. The heavy handed Tai has chalked up four impressive victories since switching to boxing full time in 2015.
Now managed by Big Bash director Andrew Higgins, Tai is again out to impress the Kiwi boxing public as he headlines an action-packed card that will be broadcast live to the nation on SKY Sports 2 from 8.30pm.
“It’s really exciting to be headlining a card for the first time,” said the 33-year-old Tai. “It has been a long time coming.”
Although he boasts one-punch power with his trademark overhand right, Tai believes he will have to wear down the cagey Loli.
“It’s 10 rounds so there is plenty of time.”
Having converted to boxing after a stellar kickboxing career, Tai isn’t wasting any time in his attempts to go “as far as the sport will take me” and has already lined up a shot at the Australian super middleweight title later this year.
Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Nik “The Greek” Charalampous failed to make weight for his main undercard clash with Sivan “Raging Bull” Hermez. Charalampous (10-0, 6KO) has been struggling with a knee injury despite posting his 10th professional victory over Aswin Cabuy in Auckland in December. He tipped the scales at 80.5kg – above the 79.4 limit – meaning the fight will be a catch-weight contest and contract penalties will kick in.
“The knee was still bothering me in December but it is fine now,” Charalampous said. “I must have had a big Christmas! But it was quite a bad injury – I did my ACL and my meniscus so it has taken time to come right.”
Featuring seven professional bouts and eight corporate fights, the fourth edition of BIG BASH boxing will once again showcase the best of the Kiwi fight scene. The co-main event sees undefeated super welterweight prospect Shay Brock (5-0, 3KO) take on “Iron” Mose Auimatagi (1-1-2).
Standout Taranaki light heavyweight Sam Rapira takes on late call-up Vaimoli Kuresa, a well-credentialed Samoan amateur fighter making his professional debut. Kuresa takes the place of former kickboxer Ziggy Croft, who withdrew due to injury.
And in contest featuring the biggest of the big boys, 160kg Conrad Lam – who broke the scales at the weigh-in – takes on the 130kg Joe sefo.
“We are stoked that we’ve been able to compile another quality card that we know will provide thrilling entertainment for Kiwi sports fans,” Higgins said on the eve of the Mad Butcher-sponsored event. “Jordan Tai is an entertaining fighter on his way up the ranks and Sam Loli will be a great test for him.”
“The co-main event between Shay Brock and Mose Auimatangi is a classic 50-50 – one for the boxing purists out there,” said Higgins. “It’s also great to see Sam Rapira back in contention in the light heavyweight division. He’s such a skilful fighter and I’m sure the people of Taranaki will be backing him to the hilt.”
For media requests and event information contact: Andrew Higgins 021 339 802
BIG BASH IV
Pro Fight Card:
Main Event – NZNBF Super Middleweight Title Fight (10x 3 minute rounds)
Jordan “The Terror” Tai (75.5KG) vs. Sam “2 Guns” Loli (76.2KG)
Co-Main Event – Super Welterweight (6×3 minute rounds)
“Iron” Mose Auimatagi (72.55KG) vs. Shay Brock (68.6KG)
Main Undercard – Light Heavyweight (6×3 minute rounds)
Nik “The Greek” Charalampous (80.5) vs. Sivan “Raging Bull” Hermez (77.85KG)
4th Pro Fight – Cruiserweight (4×3 minute rounds)
Navosa “Smiley” Ioata (88KG) vs. Zane “The Hybrid” Hopman (90.15KG)
5th Pro Fight – Light Heavyweight (4×3 minute rounds)
Sam “The Terror” Rapira (83.9KG) vs. Vaimoli Kuresa (85KG)
6th Pro Fight – Heavyweight (4×3 minute rounds)
Conrad Lam (160+KG) vs. Joe Sefo (137.37KG)
7th Pro Fight – Heavyweight (4 x 3-minute rounds)
Daniel Tai (107.75KG v Felise Lenui (123KG)
Corporate Fight Card:
Sally “The Executioner” Kaokao (68KG) v Jonah Hedley (68KG)
Monty “The Savage” Gasolo (135KG) v (145KG)
Lango “Lungz” Palelei vs. George Taukolo
Poasa Baice vs. Marley “Mauler” MacKay
Daniel Williams-Morris vs. Gavin Pukeroa
Clare “Madam Madcap” Burton vs. Cary-Lee Hadlow
Louisa Maire Browne vs. Vaitonga Tamaka Langi-Swann
Zac “Tha Bro” Heke vs. Sean “The Real Deal” Collins