The undercard of the World Boxing Council sanctioned Asia-Pacific heavyweight title fight at New Plymouth's TSB Stadium next Friday night has been rejigged.
Event organiser Ashley Smith confirmed yesterday heavyweight Wayne Orbell, who was listed to box Opunake professional James Langton, has had to withdraw and has been replaced by Auckland professional Bernard Higgins.
In another alteration and an addition to the card, Hawera boxer Whitz Kerehoma will take on Justice Grant, of the USA, in a light middleweight (69kg) bout.
Smith said the event would feature the strongest undercard possible to support the International WBC Asia-Pacific title fight between New Zealand registered boxer Chauncy Welliver and American professional Billy Wright.
New Zealand National Boxing Federation Commissioner Reg Williams was confident the event would win the support of boxing fans and justify taking it out of the main centres.
"It is a big fight to take to the provinces but we are confident the local support from Taranaki will back our decision," he said yesterday, adding the event would be a cracker.
Welliver has an impressive pro record of 55 wins, seven losses and five draws from 67 appearances and has never been knocked down, while his American opponent is a noted big puncher.
"It will be a genuine title fight over 12 rounds and the fact the local promoters have to been able to secure a full card of eight bouts [four professional fights and four corporate matchups] and sponsorship support is a vote of confidence in the local boxing scene in Taranaki," Williams said.
New Plymouth light heavyweight professional Sam Rapira features in the main event on the undercard, taking on Waikato pro Kashif Mumtz.
Smith said tickets for the event were selling well and he was predicting a crowd of more than 700 spectators.
Already 40 corporate tables had been sold for the evening at the TSB Stadium.
"It is good fun and what continues to impress us is the number of people who make the boxing shows a real night out," Smith said.
Tickets are on sale and cost $24.50 for adults and $15 for students.
- Taranaki Daily News
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