Hasim Rahman to fight in NZ 'Super 8' bout

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:28 02/04/2014
Hasim Rahman
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COMING TO NZ: Hasim Rahman, above, has a long history with Kiwi fighter David Tua.

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Former world heavyweight boxing champion Hasim Rahman will contest the New Zealand Super 8 tournament in June.

At 41, Rahman's best days are behind him, but the American is a controversial figure in New Zealand after his two fights against David Tua.

Tua ended Rahman's undefeated run in 1998 with a 10th-round knockout. Their 2003 rematch ended in a draw.

Both fights were in the United States and filled with controversy.

Tua staggered Rahman with a punch after the bell in the ninth round of their first fight and then pounced on him to finish the bout in the next round.

In the rematch, Rahman floored Tua - for the first time in Tua's career - but the punch came after the bell in the 12th round and did not count.

Attempts to produce what would have been a lucrative and emotion-fuelled third fight failed.

Rahman finally arrives in New Zealand with Tua now off the scene after last year's retirement.

Rahman should be a drawcard for the quick-fire tournament that features eight boxers fighting three-round elimination fights on the night, with the eventual winner claiming the bulk of the $500,000 pot.

Rahman has been in the ring with all the major names in his era and his highlight was in 2001 when he beat Britain's Lennox Lewis to claim the unified WBC, IBF and IBO heavyweight crowns with a fifth-round knockout in Las Vegas.

His reign was short. Lewis knocked out Rahman in four rounds in their rematch seven months later.

Rahman has gone on to win 50 (41 knockouts) of his 61 fights, although he has not been in the ring since September 2012, when he was knocked out in the second round by Alexander Povetkin in Germany. He has fought just twice in the last three years.

Rahman is the fifth fighter confirmed for the June 4 event in West Auckland that is being promoted by Sky TV for their Arena pay-per-view channel.

He joins former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter (Nigeria), Australian-based Kiwi Kali Meehan, England's Michael Sprott and Ireland's Martin Rogan.

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