King in the Ring champ 'pretty confident' of tying Adesanya record

Fri, Mar 17

Following in UFC star Israel Adesanya's footsteps would be a dream for many young mixed martial arts fighters in New Zealand, but this weekend Nikora Lee-Kingi has a chance to actually do it.

The lightweight kickboxer is taking part in this year's King in the Ring event with a shot at equalling a special record.

Lee-Kingi is fighting for a third consecutive title this Saturday but isn't letting the build-up get to him.

"I don't feel like there's that much pressure to be honest, I'm pretty confident," Lee-Kingi told 1News.

"I'm pretty confident that I can take this out again so I'm just riding that confidence and just excited to do my thing."

Should that confidence pay off this week, Lee-Kingi will tie Adesanya's record for most King in the Ring titles.

But the 27-year-old has more in common with Adesanya than just that, having moved to Auckland to work at the same gym — City Kickboxing.

CKB founder and trainer Eugene Bareman said Lee-Kingi has all the potential to be a champion too.

"He's as talented as any of the best fighters I've seen come in here including Israel," Bareman said.

"There's a part of him that's following in Israel's footsteps but there's a part of me that's pushing him to do better than Israel."

Lee-Kingi is determined to keep things simple though.

"I feel like to make it to the UFC, all I really need to do is get to the gym and the rest takes care of itself."