Jesse Maio Embraces Biggest Week Of His Pro Career
This week is shaping up to be one of the most memorable weeks of Jesse Maio's life. The undefeated 29-year-old is not only competing on one of the biggest boxing events in New Zealand's history, but he is also doing it against one of the most decorated amateur boxers this country has ever produced.
The cruiserweight bout between Maio and two-time Commonwealth Gold Medallist David Nyika is, aside from the main event, the most widely talked about fight on the card. Nyika's pro debut was always going to attract attention, and in Maio, he will be facing a fighter fully up for the challenge.
"When I signed up to be a boxer, there was always going to be some big obstacles in front of me, and it is just a matter of pushing those obstacles that are in front of you and proving everyone wrong," Maio said, speaking to NZ Fighter.
"I am very confident heading into the weekend. I'm confident in the training and the camp and the plan that we have. I think it could be a very good night for me, especially if I can get on the inside and stop him using his distance and range."
When the call came through from the matchmakers, Maio leaped at the chance to fight Nyika. Opportunities like this do not come around often for boxers in New Zealand, and Maio was not going to let this one slip through his fingers.
"There were no second thoughts; to be the man, you got to beat the man. I think I have a very good opportunity in front of me like if I can beat this dude, my whole life can change, and it will open up plenty of other doors as well," the Peach Boxing fighter said.
"To do it in front of a big crown in Spark Arena and walking out. It is the stuff that dreams are made of, really, so no hesitation at all. Walking out to a big crowd at the ABA, that was adrenaline enough. I cannot imagine what this is going to be like on the weekend."
Maio took up boxing five years ago, moving from the corporate to the amateur to the professional ranks. He made his pro debut last September, scoring a unanimous decision victory over Mahoud Ismail in front of a packed crowd at Auckland's ABA Stadium. He feels that the switch to professional boxing better suits his style,
" I am a big puncher. I am not really a guy that goes out there looking to scoring shots. I am going out there to knock people out. Amateurs weren't really for me, but I feel like I found a decent home in the pros. A 3-0 start, it's off to a dream start, and looking to continue that in the weekend.
Maio is open about what he needs to do on fight night. He is not hiding the fact that when the bell for the opening round rings out, he will be looking to turn the contest into a grueling war of attrition. It will then be up to Nyika as to how he responds.
"I think it's going to be very ugly. I am not a technical boxer at all; I am a guy that is going to go in to try and punch your head off. I know what I have to do to win. I have to turn it into a dogfight and keep it close. If I give him any room, that is when he starts to become fancy, " Maio exclaimed.
"It's just going to be I am in his chest all night, and I am going to make it ugly, and I am going to look that big bomb in the right hand that I have."
He will not be the only Peach Boxing fighter competing on the night. Light Heavyweight Jerome Pampellone will also be in action. It reminds Maio of the last time that Parker fought in NZ when his and Pampellone's stablemates David Light, Andrei Mikhailovich, and Alister Boyd all competed.
"I remember me and Isaac [ Peach] were running around Christchurch, and he was like, 'if you work hard, this could be you one day.' To think two years later, I am going to have the same opportunity. It's perfect, man, and Jerome was there [Christchurch] as well, so obviously, we have seen the other boys do it, so now it's our turn to fly the flag for the team.
" Isaac said, 'millionaires would pay millions to be in the opportunity where you are, and they can't do it.' Honestly, it is so cool, and I can't wait, and I am just going to embrace the whole week."