Tabuai Takes Title, De Mori Extended

04.08.04 – By Tony Nobbs: Cairns based Torres Straight Islander Arama ‘Warrior’ Tabuai took the Queensland state middleweight title from Brisbane’s Peter Rolph at the Brisbane Broncos RLFC on Friday night. The end came at 1.20 of round six, with the official outcome being a cut eye stoppage. Tabuai, a dangerous starter, knocked Rolph to the canvas with a straight right in one of the opening exchanges of the fight and controlled the first six minutes. Rounds three to five belonged to the plucky Rolph and it appeared he was going to scrap his way to a decision. However, in the concluding stanza Tabuai connected with a series of right hands that forced the referee to step in.

Rolph was originally cut in round one over his left eye. A good win for the entertaining Arama who previously won this title by TKO 10 over Nik Tamaufai in November 1997, in only his second paid bout.

In an absolute humdinger of a main support to this show promoted by Brian Kirwan’s Red Corner Promotions, Gold Coast heavyweight prospect Mark De Mori gutted his way to a six round draw over Samoan Alex Leapai. Down and all but gone in the fourth round, 108 kg De Mori (5-0-1, 4 KO) showed a heart as big as himself by taking the final two heats to get out with his unbeaten record intact. After a competitive opening two rounds, things heated up in the third with De Mori in trouble towards the end as the hard punching Leapai, now based in Woodridge, south of Brisbane opened up with a two fisted attack. Round four saw De Mori box well at the start, as head at the beginning of the third before Leapai got in with some tremendous shots and he was credited with a knockdown after De Mori hit the canvas. De Mori again went down near the bell but this time it was not ruled a knockdown.

Rounds five and six were as action packed as most fights but paled in comparison to the previous two. The fight was one of the best you could expect from two heavyweight up and comers and the fans showed their appreciation by showering the ring. The term “war” is often over used in this country but this was a fight that could be given that description and when the decision was announced both combatants showed as much sportsmanship as they had courage!

Former Bronco Micheal Peachey scored a four round UD over Cairns’ Baden Oui in a heavyweight clash. Trained by former WBO # 1 lightweight Shane Knox and cornered by Australia’s best cutman, the ever reliable Bill College, Peachey showed quality skill and a superior fitness level to take each round against an opponent good enough to win an international amateur bout v an Irish opponent this year and turn pro by taking Mark De Mori the route at Easter.

Brad Hemming won the vacant state lt welterweight title by stopping Fabrice Hona who was not allowed to begin round two with a damaged right arm. After being stunned with a short right, Hemming stung into action scoring two knockdowns with only the bell preventing a third. The first knockdown was due to a solid right hand and the contest was as good as over from that moment. Even if Hona had not been injured it is doubtful his corner would have let it continue. Hemming, a gym mate of De Mori, goes by the nickname of the ‘Glamour Boy’ and has in the past showed a lack of killer instinct. He was switched on-pink trunks and all- in this one and will next face fellow Coastie Paul Tapley for the welterweight belt. Former amateur Fabrice
has retired.

Mick Shaw captured the state lightweight crown by grinding out a UD 8 over defending champ Danny Wilson. Shaw, a former national title challenger at jnr light, who was having only his second bout after a four year lay off had too much all round for Wilson, a southpaw who tried hard all the way. With a few more fights to rid the rust, Shaw should get back into contention.

In a welterweight four rounder to start the night, Chris McCullen registered a first round win at 2.13 over Kevin O’Neill.

This was the second card by Red Corner at the venue and the crowd was capacity.