Sam "The Terror" Rapira is happy with his progress as he prepares for his professional boxing debut in New Plymouth next month.
The New Plymouth light-heavyweight will go toe-to-toe with experienced Auckland pro Scott Taliauli in the main event on the Naki Knockouts pro-am card at the TSB Stadium on April 6.
It will be the first professional boxing event held in Taranaki for more than 30 years.
Rapira has been sparring against professional heavyweight Hemi Takurua and has spent two weekends in Auckland recently to train under the guidance of his new coach Lollo Heimuli.
"The training is going great and I feel I'm a bit ahead of schedule," Rapira said.
"The fitness is great and the quality of sparring I've been getting has been great. I've sharpened everything up and I'm really happy with how things are going."
Event manager Ashley Smith confirmed high profile New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker would be in New Plymouth for the event, but will not be fighting.
Smith said the 10-fight event would run over four hours and included three amateur bouts and four corporate fights, featuring Taranaki business and sporting personalities.
"Interest has been high and the corporate fights are proving a popular drawcard," he said.
The corporate matchups and the workplace or sport they represent are: Craig Macfarlane (Ozone Coffee) v Mark Louie (Our Place); Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (rugby) v Andrew Castles (rugby league); Kerry Simeon (Crowded House) v Stacey Lamb (Club 55); Peter Napanoy (City Fitness) v Rory O'Connor (Rampage Fitness).
Smith added ticket sales were going well.
"The 53 corporate tables are sold out and we've got a waiting list of 10 companies, so there has been a great response," he said. "General admission tickets are also selling fast."
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster agency at the TSB Showplace in New Plymouth. Prices are: Adults $24.50 and children (under 15) $15.
- © Fairfax NZ News