Geovana Peres retains world title with the first TKO of her career
New Zealand Boxer Geovana Peres defended her WBO Light Heavyweight title against Canadian Claire Hafner last night in dominating fashion.
From the beginning, Geovana controlled the fight with her hand speed, combinations, and power. Things started becoming difficult for Claire when she received a cut in the first round above her left eye from a punch. The cut got worse in the second round; however, it stabilised throughout the fight.
At the end of the 6th round, Singapore-born Australian referee Phil Austin warned Claire Hafner's cornerman that he needed to see more from Claire or he would stop the fight. In the 7th round, another cut opened on Claire; this time above the other eye. At the end of the 8th round, the referee called the fight, ending the fight by TKO. Phil Austin said to Claire that "I had to protect your head".
After the fight, Geovana said "It feels dream-like. This is for us New Zealand… I'm proud to be a Kiwi now. This is ours and it will stay here… The only thing that was missing was a TKO and I have it now. I'm going to get better… I don't know what will happen next. That's for my manager now. Back to training and set some goals for next year."
The undercard featured some excellent New Zealand women boxers showcasing their talent.
Lani Daniels (4-2-1) took on Tessa Tualevao (1-5-1) for the third time of their careers; the second time for the vacant NZPBC New Zealand Middleweight title. A quick reminder that Lani Daniels won their first fight back in September 2018, The second fight ended in a controversial majority decision draw.
The fight started off pretty close between the two boxers; however, Tessa took control with her aggression in the middle of the fight. It was noticed by the commentary team that Lani was attempting to fight on the inside more, which is different to her usual fighting style on the outside. It was also noted that Lani Daniels' corner was more focused on motivating Lani in between rounds instead of giving direction. Tessa rocked Lani a couple of times in the middle of the fight. The fight was extremely close by the seventh round - which Lani took control of - and was even at the end of the fight.
The scoring took a while to be calculated, following which Lt Dan Hennessey announced a split decision draw. The crowd erupted in boos and the commentary team were saying Tessa won the fight and that she got robbed. Tessa said that she felt she won the fight. Lani was happy with the draw as she felt Tessa won the first half and Lani won the second half. Again the belt remains vacant.
The one and only male professional bout took place between Samoan-born Australian Herman Ene Purcell (15-8-0) and Samoan-born New Zealander Viliamu Motusaga (0-4-0). Herman is well known in New Zealand as he grew up in the North Shore, Auckland. The fight surprisingly went a lot better than expected; Motusaga showed hand speed and counter-punching skills. However, Herman took control of the entire fight showing his experience and power punching skills. The fight went the full 5 rounds ending in unanimous decision win to Herman.
The international women's fight between Trish Vaka (1-5-0) and Desley Robinson (1-0-0) was, unfortunately, a non-exciting fight. The first round was slow as both boxers were feeling each other out. Throughout the rest of the fight, Desley took control and outboxed Trish. The fight ended in an unsurprising unanimous decision to Desley Robinson.
The opening professional fight was former Kickboxing World Champion and former WIBA World Champion Gentiane Lupi (5-3-1) taking on Navy officer Karen Te Ruki Pasene (1-0-0). The first round was a good even round as both boxers showed they were there to win. However, for the rest of the fight, Gentiane's experience and skill took control. Gentiane Lupi won the fight by split decision. A little bit of controversial judging, as Lupi won the fight clearly.
Rival Sports Promotion outdid themselves with an amazing fight night, breaking boundaries and paving the way for a good future for women's boxing.