Heavyweights square off for first boxing international
Boxing fans can expect a Valentines Day massacre in New Plymouth tonight.
The question is who is going to massacre who?
Two evenly-matched heavyweights squared off at the weigh-in for the World Boxing Council sanctioned Asia Pacific heavyweight title in New Plymouth last night, both threatening fireworks.
Las Vegas-based "Bronco" Billy Wright (42 wins, 33 knockouts and four losses) goes toe to toe against "The Hillyard Hammer" Chauncy Welliver (55 wins, seven losses and five draws) at the TSB Stadium in New Plymouth tonight.
Wright will be trying to recapture the heavyweight title as a 49-year-old and he's not listening to anyone who says he can't do it.
A self-made millionaire with giant hands, weighing in at 146kg and a former sparring partner of Mike Tyson, Bronco Wright was oozing confidence in his winning chances last night.
Can you knock Welliver out? "Yes I will. I've knocked out the last 10 guys I have fought."
Wright predicated tonight's fight won't go past six of the 12 rounds allowed "because I'm too strong."
US-based Kiwi Welliver weighed in at 128kg. Nineteen years younger than his opponent, he laughed when told of Wright's pre-fight banter.
" "He's an older gentleman and I don't be rude to my elders except tomorrow night when the bell rings.
"I know Billy, he's a good guy, but when that bell rings - I hate him."
The biggest cheer at the weigh was for hometown hero Sam Rapira who will fight Hamilton-based Pakistani cruiserweight Kashif Mumtaz in the main event on the night's undercard.
Rapira is on the comeback trail after a short injury layoff and looking to extend his unbeaten professional record to six tonight.
He tipped the scales at 81.7kg, looking hard and as fit as ever despite his layoff.
"The training has gone great," said Rapira, who is eager to get more rounds under his belt.
"I would like to go the full six rounds for my own development. I have never been past three rounds. In the amateurs you only fight three rounds and since I've turned pro all my fights have finished before the third round.
"But if the knockout presents itself then I'll take it."
At the weigh-in, the winner of the draw for the Taranaki Daily News corporate table was Mike Zeier, of New Plymouth.