Surfer Paige Hareb battles for world title bid
Paige Hareb will box on for her surfing career.
The world-class surfer and Fight for Life cult hero has confirmed she will follow in Sonny Bill Williams' footsteps and juggle two sports, with a career on the waves and in the ring to help fund her bid to become the first Kiwi to win the world women's surfing crown.
Hareb told Sunday News she would fight professionally at least once this year, most likely on the Fight for Life bill in December. But she is not ruling out more bouts in 2012 and next year.
Last week, it was revealed Dean Lonergan and Duco Events wanted her back as a key drawcard after her sensational showing last year – when she went toe-to-toe with snowboarding champ and TV star Hayley Holt.
"I need to find other ways to fund my travel around the world, for the Dream Tour, and this is a way for me to do it," said Hareb, who last year lost her major sponsor Billabong, despite being ranked in the world's top 10 women surfers for three years.
"Dean's obviously keen to have me back and if I can help get some more funds and exposure, I'll do it."
Lonergan said he was delighted Hareb would be back for the Fight for Life.
He was also hoping she could be on the undercard for the upcoming Shane Cameron v Monte Barrett fight, rescheduled for July 5.
"Paige's shown she's one of the most courageous fighters we've had on Fight for Life. Her fight last year with Hayley Holt was the fight of the night," Lonergan said.
"I really hope she's available for both the Fight for Life and the Cameron v Barrett undercards. Not only does she supply great entertainment and interest for both fight cards, we'd really like to help her out with her surfing career by supplying money for her to fight and publicity to secure potential sponsors.
"It'd be a win-win all around."
Hareb, 21, stressed surfing remained her key focus.
She said she could never contemplate an amateur boxing career which could take her to the Olympics.
"I don't have time to commit to that path. But I could do a couple of pro fights a year around my surfing commitments."
Hareb was eager to score a Fight for Life victory after losing a unanimous decision to Holt.
"I still don't like the fact I've got a 0-1 record in a televised event, and that alone's enough to make me want to do a second Fight for Life," she told Sunday News last week.
A multi-talented athlete, Hareb was also in the North Island junior soccer academy and in the New Zealand junior ski academy with X Games medallist Jossi Wells.