SALT's Sarah Long takes the NZPBA Title
Heavyweight boxer Sarah Long has finally wrapped the belt around her waist after a long year of waiting. Long won the NZPBA title by Unanimous Decision against Ashley Campbell.
Sarah Long first fought for the title against the champion at the time, Alrie Meleisea, on November 11th, 2017 at ABA Stadium in Auckland. The bout itself was a close fight, enough to split the judges, however, Alrie Meleisea won the bout with some viewers calling it a controversial decision.
Sarah was faced with the decision to either retire from boxing and focus on kickboxing or keep chasing that title dream. Six months later, Long's team at S.A.L.T (South Auckland Lee Gar Thaiboxing) put in an official challenge for the title for the second time. Due to the last bout ending in a Split decision, the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association agreed and declared Sarah Long the Mandatory challenger.
The bout was set to take place on June 23rd this year, however a week before the fight, Champion Alrie Meleisea mother passed away. Due to this Meleisea pulled out of the fight. NZPBA said to Terry Tuteru (Sarah Long Manager and Trainer) if they could find a replacement opponent Sarah Long could fight for the Interim title. Unfortunately due to the lack of professional boxers in the heavyweight division in New Zealand (and the world) they were not about to find another opponent and the entire fight was postponed to a later date.
Months have passed since the announcement of the postponed fight and a decision was up in the air on whether this fight would even happen. Terry Tuteru decided to write a letter to the NZPBA in August and request an update on the situation and after six weeks, Alrie Meleisea decided to vacate the title and take a break from boxing until 2019.
Tuteru was committed to finding an opponent for Sarah for his show on October 13th and, after weeks of looking, Ashley Campbell took the bout. The two fought over 8 rounds for the vacant NZPBA female Heavyweight title.
Throughout the bout, Sarah won rounds by landing cleaner and heavier punches and overworking her tough opponent. Despite having only one pro bout in the past, Ashley Campbell showed that she was no pushover. After 8 long rounds, Dan Hennessey announced that Sarah Long won the bout by unanimous decision (80 - 72, 79 - 73, 78 - 76). The icing on the cake for Sarah was her two boys walking into the ring after she won and performed an emotional Haka.
Long took to social media the next day saying “Winning my fight and getting the belt was awesome but my two big boys doing this for me was the highlight of the night.”
Sarah Long now improves her record to 3 - 3 - 0 and becomes the NZPBA Heavyweight Champion.