Kiwi boxers oozing confidence ahead of undercard fights

October 15, 2022
Hemi Ahio, left, and David Nyika at Monday's TVNZ announcement.

The New Zealand boxers set to feature on the undercard of tomorrow's world lightweight rematch between champion Devin Haney and rival George Kambosos Jr. have dished out plenty of confidence at the final press conference before the event in Melbourne.

David Nyika and Hemi Ahio both featured in the conference on Friday ahead of their respective bouts against Tito Motusaga and Faiga Opelu which will be broadcast free-to-air on TVNZ1 from 11am on Sunday.

Ahio will look to move to 20-0 in the heavyweight contest against American Opelu, having taken 14 of his 19 victories to date by knockout including his last trip to the ring in June.

The 32-year-old took down Christian Ndzie Tsoye who retired after the first round of their bout with an arm injury leaving Ahio the winner after just three minutes of work.

Ahio said Friday he hopes to show off more tomorrow.

Hemi Ahio lands a blow against Christian Ndzie Tsoye on the undercard of Kambosos Jr v Haney 1 at Melbourne's Marvel Arena in June.

"It wasn't so much about the power last fight, it was more about the skill sets that I didn't get to showcase or play with but it's cool," he said.

"This time, I might have to do the same thing to this guy - he's not here today for me to see him so we can talk to each other but come Sunday, it's going to be good.

"It's a heavyweight fight. It won't last long."

Nyika is hoping to do similar in his six-round cruiserweight bout against fellow Kiwi Tito Motusaga after opening his professional career with a 4-0 record.

"I'm excited for a tough fight on the weekend and ideally land that one-two, look at my shoe," Nyika said.

"I've got a tough opponent in front of my but I'm going to use my juggernaut-ness to my advantage."

Nyika hinted he'd have another "fun" ringwalk ready for tomorrow after entering his last fight dressed up as Boba Fett from the Star Wars series.

"I'm sticking with the Disney theme," he hinted.

David Nyika makes his way to the ring to fight Anthony Carpin.

With the undercard chatter out the way, headliners Haney and Kambosos Jr. then took to the stage and were quick to start trading verbal jabs with Haney claiming his rival was a fighter reliant on excuses ahead of their world title rematch on Sunday.

The Kambosos camp has claimed Haney was allowed to get away with illegally holding the Australian during the first fight and has repeatedly criticized the refereeing over the past four months.

Kambosos also said he was distracted by trying to promote the fight in Australia as the champion and was not pleased with his preparation leading into the June meeting. But Haney is not impressed by the Australian camp’s interpretation of events.

“They keep making up excuses. Now it is the coach. Before it was the referee. (They said) I was holding. They make every excuse in the book,” Haney said.

“Why did you fire your whole team if that was the case? If truly you feel like I was holding too much, why would you fire your whole team?”

Although the Australian said he would “shock the world again”, Kambosos stressed he has learned a lesson from the loss to Haney and will let his boxing do the talking on Sunday.

Fight coverage starts at 11am on TV1

Full card with Kiwi boxers in bold:

Fight 1 – Lorenzo Simpson (USA) vs Marcus Heywood (NZ), middleweights

Fight 2 – Amari Jones (USA) vs Tej Pratap Singh (AUS), super welterweights

Fight 3 – David Nyika (NZ) vs Titi Motusaga (NZ), cruiserweights

Fight 4 – Hemi Ahio (NZ) vs Faiga Opelu (AUS), heavyweights

Fight 5 – Cherneka Johnson vs Susie Ramadan (AUS), for IBF super-bantamweight world title

Fight 6 - Andrew Moloney (AUS) vs Norbelto Jimenez (DOM REP), WBO international super-featherweight title

Fight 7 – Jason Moloney (AUS vs Nawaphon Kaikanha (THAI), WBC bantamweight title eliminator

Main Event – Devin Haney (USA) vs George Kambosos Jr (AUS), for the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring lightweight titles


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