The biggest dream fight in the light heavyweight division in New Zealand has finally happened with Robert “The Butcher” Berridge defending his New Zealand (NZPBA Version) title against Adrian “The Terror” Taihia.
This fight has been 5 years the making from call outs in WWE fashion to the fight scheduled with pull outs due to injury. The two got heated when they had a war of word at the weigh in with a shove that almost started in a brawl. The fight was quickly broken up by the two managers, however the video of the shove was uploaded onto facebook with views reaching passed 10k views within minutes.
The impressive fight card as whole could be said to be televised worthy, unfortunately it was not. The fight has been promised to be on youtube within 24 hrs after the event, thanks to Gladrap Channel.
The event started off with a tribute to NZPBA judge Douglas Carrick Belton, who passed away recently to cancer at the age of eighty. Belton is a former president of NZPBA and the Commonwealth boxing council and was very loved and respected in the boxing community.
The first pro bout featured Nailini Helu (2-0-1) vs Arie Masina (Debut). The bout was originally scheduled for helu to face Cheyenne Whaanga for the Light Heavyweight New Zealand (NZPBA Version) title, however Whaanga had pulled out due to serious injury. Masina took the fight on 24 hours notice.
Nailini Helu fought Ange Davis on September 24th for the NZPBA and UBF Asia Pacific Heavyweight title. The bout originally announced as a SD win to Helu, was changed to a draw after an appeal and notice an error on the scorecard which made it a Split Decision Draw. NZPBA Announced that both Nailini Helu and Ange Davis and the mandatory challengers for the vacant NZPBA Heavyweight women’s title and must be fought for within next 6 months.
The bout between Helu and Masina change to a heavyweight bout, contesting over 3×2 min rounds. Throughout the fight Helu seemed to go easy on Masina, however due to this Masina won the bout by Split Decision. With the win there are allot of questions like will there be a rematch?, does this mean Masina is the other mandatory challenger for the vacant title against Ange Davis?, what will happen next with Helu? And what will happen with Whaanga?
The next bout was Mohammed Bashir (0-1-0) vs James Uoka (1-11-0). A very technical bout showed that the two were very hesitant. In the end the bout ended in a MD draw.
The next and last female bout of the night was Baby Nansen (3-2-0) vs Briar Johnston (Debut). The fight was a close fight, however Nansen won the fight by Split Decision.
Nailini Helu’s younger brother, Panuve Helu (5-1-2) fought Peter Tovio (2-24-1) in a Cruiserweight bout. Tovio also took the fight on 24 hours notice due to issues with police permit from Helu original opponent. The bout itself did not last very long as Helu out punch Tovio with speed and power. Referee Lance Revill did the best thing by stopping the fight before Tovio got seriously hurt. Helu is looking to get a rematch with Jordan Tai and Mose Auimatagi jnr in the near future.
The co Main event was undefeated Junior Fa vs Junior Iakopo, however that fight also didn’t long as the unstoppable power of Fa, finish Iakopo in the first round. Fa was due to fight for the NZPBA title in November on Big Bash, however due to injury, Daniel Tai pulled out. Due to issues to finding an opponent, the title fight is off the table and is change to a normal fight.
And finally the main event with Robert Berridge defending his NZ title against Adrian Taihia. Throughout the entire fight Taihia fought a very defensive fight, something that is usually seen by Floyd Mayweather. With such a high profile fight, both boxers were careful and boxing smart. The fight went the distance with judges scoring 97 – 95, 98 – 93, 99 – 94 with the winner and still Champion is Robert Berridge.
After the fight the MC Isaac Savage manage to get the two boxers to shake hands, however Berridge took to social media and said “”I’ll be there”… He said 🤔 most boring fight that I’ve fought, got the win, thanks to everyone that showed up!”.
Berridge is only 5 fights away till he reaches the big 40, which is his current plan is right now. As for Taihia, it is unknown what is next for him but allot of people seem to be calling for a Taihia vs Sam Rapira. People are also calling for the Berridge vs Reece Papuni rematch and Berridge vs Sefo Falekaono rematch. Falekaono defeated Taihia in August, making him mandatory challenger for Berridge NZPBA title.
Promoter Craig Thomson will be promoting his next event December with the main event still to be announced in Auckland.