Hasim Rahman draws Kiwi in Super 8 opener
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Hasim Rahman has gained the top seeding for next month's Super 8 contest in Auckland, but steps into the unknown against multi-dimensional fighter Antz Nansen.
American Rahman's class - he has held three belts and been in the ring with 10 world champions - sees him top the eight-man field who will need to get through three fights (of three rounds) to take the title in this knockout format.
Kiwi Nansen has gained a wildcard into the Auckland tournament after the withdrawal of former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter with a calf injury.
Nansen has boxed and dabbled in MMA, but he made his name in kick-boxing where he is a three-time New Zealand champion in three different divisions.
Danny Green, the Australian world boxing champion is on the TV commentary team for the June 4 event and picks a tough night for Rahman, simply because Nansen has nothing to lose.
"If I were Nansen, I'd be licking my lips," Green said.
"He should let it all hang out, losing to a guy like Rahman is no disgrace, but if you tip him over you write your own ticket."
Las Vegas based Kiwi Brice Ritani Coe has drawn the second seed, American Alonso Butler.
Australian-based Kiwi Kali Meehan has claimed the third seeding and has drawn Australian Hunter Sam in the first round action.
Green has a good handle on these two fighters and senses a tough contest.
"Sam is tough and can box. Kali hasn't fought in a while so it's a question of Hunter's youth and vitality versus Meehan's world-class experience and power," Green reasoned.
"That said Kali's in pretty good knick so Sam will need to be on his toes to get inside that ram rod jab."
SUPER 8 FIRST ROUND DRAW
1-Hasim Rahman (US) v 8-Antz Nansen (NZ), 2-Alonso Butler (US) v 7-Brice Ritani Coe (NZ), 3-Kali Meehan (Aus/NZ) v 6-Hunter Sam (Aus), 4-Sprott (UK) v 5-Martin Rogan (IRE)