Injured fighter 'out of condition'
Main bout disappoints organisersTONY BIRD
Chauncy Welliver headed back to Auckland last weekend a beaten man with his right arm in a sling.
The American-based boxer retired hurt after the fifth round of the 12-round Asia Pacific title heavyweight fight against veteran American Billy Wright in New Plymouth on Friday night.
Event organiser Ashley Smith said yesterday that the southpaw boxer was treated for a possible fracture of his arm by medical staff at the TSB Stadium on the night.
In some quarters, it was suggested that Welliver may have faked his injury, but Smith insisted that wasn't the case.
"He definitely had pain in his right arm after the second round, but didn't require hospital treatment," Smith said. "It [the injury] wasn't bad enough for him not to travel back to Auckland."
Smith said what was a concern to organisers was Welliver weighing in at 128 kilograms - 13kg heavier than when he was last in the ring.
"He was clearly out of condition."
Smith said when he spoke with Welliver afterwards he was pretty disappointed to be injured so early in the fight.
Wright took advantage of the situation and repeatedly targeted Welliver's arm, landing numerous heavy blows before the fight was stopped.
Smith admitted organisers were disappointed in the quality of the main event, after the emphasis placed on it in the pre-fight advertising.
Large numbers of spectators took flight with the apparent shortage of punches being thrown and filed out of the stadium early.
Smith said pro heavyweight boxing was not always entertaining for fans in terms of style.
"Both boxers are very experienced and they would have been pacing themselves for 12 rounds. It was probably more noticeable because the shorter round undercard fights were fast and explosive," Smith said. "You see it in heavyweight fights, they pace themselves for six rounds and there's the odd flurry of punches and a lot of walking around the ring."
Under the rules for title fights, Smith said Wright had a 12-month time frame to return to the Asia Pacific region and defend his title - if he didn't, he would forfeit it.
Smith said the event was a learning curve for organisers bringing in overseas boxers.
"We probably showed a bit of inexperience ourselves because we didn't pay close enough attention to detail that we perhaps should have.
"We should have been . . . looking harder at the history of the boxers."
Smith said getting a quality opponent for Sam Rapira, who stretched his unbeaten record to six, was a priority.
"Nothing has been decided at this stage.
"There's a tournament scheduled in Nelson next month, but I can't see that happening due to the earthquake damage to the venue," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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