Shane Cameron's shot at the IBO world cruiserweight title is his fairytale come true.
It has been a long time coming, but Cameron announced today he will fight former three-time Australian cruiserweight champion Danny Green for the vacant world title in Melbourne later this year, after a doping scandal saw Antonio Tarver stripped of his crown.
Tarver beat Green in Sydney to secure the cruiserweight title in July last year, but the American returned a banned anabolic steroid in his pre-fight urine sample prior to this year's draw with Lateef Kayode in June.
Test results were only made public after the fight with Kayode, and Tarver was subsequently stripped of the title, handing the choice of opponent back to previous holder Green.
None of that matters to Cameron.
Two months after his stunning fourth-round knockout of Monte Barrett, a title shot has arrived.
Cameron was thought to be lining up a headline heavyweight contender to bring to New Zealand, but the prospect of a world title in any division is as good as it gets for any boxer.
"It is any fighter's dream to compete on the world stage for a world title. There are a lot of fighters that never get this opportunity,"
Cameron told Fairfax Media. "It's like a fairytale."
The Cameron (31-2) Green (37-5) match-up - dubbed Machine v Warrior - has been two-years in the making. The Constellation and Bledisloe Cups are fought with our closest rivals, but this will be a one-on-one trans-Tasman battle like no other.
Cameron has never lost to an Australian and he doesn't intend to start now.
It is understood Cameron's manager, Ken Reinsfield, has been negotiating with the Green camp for the last eight weeks, but the Kiwis have been chasing this fight since 2010.
"This is massive. It is the biggest New Zealand fight since David Tua fought Lenox Lewis [in 2000]," Reinsfield told Fairfax Media. "It's an opportunity to fight for a world title, you never turn them down.
Whether it's heavyweight or cruiserweight you've got to take it. They my never come along in your career."
David Haye, Evander Holyfield, James Toney, Chris Bird and Tomasz Adamek are just some of the illustrious former cruiserweight champions. Many went on to greater feats.
"This could also be a faster track to a heavyweight title," Reinsfield said.
"After years of trying to get this match made, it's on. It's a fight we've been chasing for a long time, but timing is everything. We would have liked to have this fight sooner, but it's worked out better the way it is now."
Cameron tipped the scales at 99kg when he fought Barrett. He will need to drop nearly 9kg to reach cruiserweight restrictions (90.7kg), but can bulk up after the weigh-in.
"Shane's body weight has stabilised and he's closer to cruiserweight than he's ever been," Reinsfield said. "Shane is at a weight class now where he can drift between the two divisions."
The lighter category is a natural fit for Green, who has suffered two defeats - to Tarver and WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk - in his last three fights.
Perth-based Green regained confidence with a fifth-round TKO of Danny Santiago in July.
While the loss in weight may diminish Cameron's power, he is undefeated in four cruiserweight fights, the last of which saw him claim the Commonwealth title with a brutal 12th round stoppage of Dominic Vea in July last year.
Just as he did against Barrett, Cameron, 34, will have the age advantage over Green, 39.
"I'm definitely confident," Cameron said expectantly.
- © Fairfax NZ News