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Māori Boxer Wins New Zealand Light Heavyweight Title

Published: Sat 8 Jun 2024 01:32 PM
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Michael Herangi-Helg (Ngāpuhi/Waikato-Tainui) has won the New Zealand national (PBCNZ version) Light Heavyweight title against Joshua Tai at Alexandra Park, becoming the first Light Heavyweight champion in four years.
Bruce Glozier put on another excellent boxing event on Friday Night at Alexandra Park in Greenlane, Auckland. Glozier, who has promoted world titles in the past, continues to promote up-and-coming boxers, giving them their chance of success.
In the main event, Mickey Helg took on veteran Joshua Tai for the vacant New Zealand Light Heavyweight title. This opportunity is well deserved, as he has been undefeated since making his debut in 2022, winning three of his five fights by stoppage. The boxing journey is never easy, especially when he has had opponents pull out in the past minutes before the fight starts.
Joshua Tai is a veteran boxer. His record might not show it, but he is tough, and if you underestimate him, he will take advantage. Since debuting in 2009, he has fought many credible opponents, including former IBO World champion Blake Caparello, former WBO ranked boxer Gunnar Jackson, Pro Box NZ champion Francis Waitai, former top 10 ranked Jerome Pampellone, and many more. In his 15-year career, this is his first New Zealand title opportunity.
In the first round of the fight, boxers were feeling each other out before Tai began to start holding, hitting Helg behind the head and trying to rough Helg up. Helg did not fall for his tactics and kept composed. Tai continued the same way in the second round, managing to land some clean shots. But Helg would begin to get into the fight and land a couple of combinations himself. Helg Corner is unhappy with the ref for Tai continuing to punch Helg in the back of the head and excessive holding.
Tai continued trying to hold in round three, but Helg was now in a rhythm and began out-boxing Tai, landing effective clean combinations. The referee warned Tai for his dirty boxing tactics. Helg turned it up another level in the fourth round, landing cleaning. He would know Tai down twice, with Tai and his corner protesting that the first knockdown was a slip. Helg would knock Tai again before the referee would wave off the fight.
Helg won the fight by TKO, 2:40 into the fourth round, becoming the first Light Heavyweight New Zealand champion in four years, the last being Zane Hopman, who won the Pro Box NZ version of the title in October 2020.
What is next for Mickey Helg? He fluctuates before the Light Heavyweight (79.4 kgs) and Super Middleweight (76.2 kgs) divisions, giving him plenty of opponents in New Zealand before needing to go overseas. Including the current Pro Box NZ Super Middleweight champion Francis Waitai, former world title challenger Robert Berridge, up-and-coming boxer Rini Porter, and maybe even fight the guy who pulled out last minute on the world title undercard, Ricaia Warren. Of course, there are more Super Middleweight up-and-comers, including Nicholas Benn and Mandy Lui.
Francis Waitai would be an epic battle that could qualify for a regional title, which would help Helg enter the top 15 in the world-sanctioning bodies.
On the undercard of the event, Thomas Dei-Davison took on Alex Taulaki in both of their professional boxing debuts. Dei-Davison won the fight by fourth-round stoppage, an impressive beginning for his pro boxing career.

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