While better known for their Rugby team and the gorgeous Middle Earth vistas that cover it, New Zealand has had a fair few talented pugilists coming out of the Land of the Long Cloud. With Joseph Parker eying up Anthony Joshua and fans around the world getting ready to Bet on AJ vs Parker with Paddy Power let’s have a look at some of the Kiwi fighters who’ve made a splash on the world stage.
Sonny Bill Williams
Originally a talented rugby player, Sonny Bill Williams also had a short but sweet boxing career, competing in 7 bouts between the years 2009 and 2015. In 2015, Sonny decided to put his boxing career on hold and returned to rugby, which meant he was stripped of his international and New Zealand heavyweight titles.
Whilst Williams left his boxing career on a high winning all fights, there was some controversy surrounding his win against Francois Botha – AKA the White Buffalo.
Williams dominated the early rounds but started to flag near the end, eventually winning on points. This proved controversial because the rounds were shortened from 12 to 10 in a surprise move from the Australian National Boxing Federation. While both camps knew about it, Botha allegedly didn’t and this would have had an impact on his pacing.
Though he’s more at home on the rugby pitch (what Kiwi isn’t?) Williams impact on boxing is not to be sniffed at and he could always return.
Joseph Parker, or Lupesoliai La’auli if you want to use his Matai, is currently one of the best, if not the best, NZ boxer fighting today. With an outstanding 24 fight winning streak, he’s currently undefeated in his pro-record with the 25th bout coming up this month. But his opponent, Anthony Joshua, is no push over either.
Joshua’s also undefeated with 20 wins under his belt and is considered the favourite of the two (which is fair, given he has three times the belts), but will greater experience give Parker the edge? Whatever happens, one of them is getting their win-streak broken- but which one?
New Zealand’s Olympic hope with an unexpected silver medal win, while he might not have the impressive record of some of the others on this list, his win was still a national celebration. While the fight itself is not terribly impressive, with Hollyfield being disqualified for illegal punches, it was the first time a Kiwi boxer had won a medal at the Olympics in 56 years.
Despite never turning professional, he remained active in boxing as a trainer and manager. He even trained Joseph Parker, who you will remember from the previous entry as being kind of a big deal.
Shane Cameron has a respectable record of wins and titles with a few losses stacking up in recent years leading to his retirement. Still, he was nothing to sniff at in his prime! With his professional debut in 2002 and first title in 2004, he had an undefeated streak until his 20th bout against Friday Ahunanya.
Unfortunately, back in 2014, The Mountain Warrior made a vow that if he had another loss, he’d call it quits on his career. “For me, if I lose this fight, that’s the end of my career”. Sadly for Cameron fans, he did indeed lose the fight against Kali Meehan and retired. Despite this being the end of Shane Cameron’s professional boxing career, he didn’t stop playing an important role in the sport.
Since retiring, Cameron has turned to promoting and putting on local shows in Auckland, last year he started his own boxing show and is still active in entertainment. He also placed fifth in Dancing with the Stars New Zealand. Not related to boxing, but still not too shabby!by