Sarah Long - New Zealand Champion

Current New Zealand National Heavyweight Champion and now ranked 10th in the WBC & 4th on Boxrec, we look at Sarah Long professional boxing career…. So far.

It is one thing I have to note that in 2016 was an important year for women’s boxing in New Zealand, especially in the heavyweight division. Before 2016, it was a very rare thing to see any New Zealand heavyweight women competing in the pro ranks. But yet in 2016, there were multiple heavyweight women boxing bouts including Sarah Long making her debut against Nailini Helu. This was the 4th heavyweight women’s fight at the time in a space for 10 years. I would like to say after this moment, heavyweight women’s boxing really took off in New Zealand.

Sarah Long took on 3 times New Zealand national amateur champion Nailini Helu in Sarah’s pro debut but unfortunately lost by Unanimous Decision. It was an important fight as it was made a New Zealand title eliminator, which meant the winner gets to go one and challenge for the vacant New Zealand Heavyweight title.

(Calden Jamieson Photo: Sarah Long Standing in the corner between rounds against Cheyenne Whaanga)

Sarah didn’t waste any time and went straight for another tough challenge by taking on former New Zealand national amateur champion Cheyenne Whaanga. This was Cheyenne Whaanga one and only fight. Sarah Long again, unfortunately, lost the bout by unanimous decision. Yes it wasn’t a good start to a boxing career with two loses in a row, but the important thing here is that she learnt a lot in every fight that she was in and she would use that experience going forward, which showed in her next fight.

(Calden Jamieson Photo: Sarah Long Knocking down Tasha Pakai)

Only a couple weeks after her lose against Cheyenne, Sarah took on a Hamilton boxer named Tash Pakai. This was also Tash Pakai one and only fight of her career. Sarah really showed off her experience and displayed how good of a boxer Sarah really was, including knocking her opponent down in the second round. Sarah won the fight by unanimous decision.

(Sarah Long at weigh-in against Geovana Peres)

Now in 2017, Sarah Long had her first fight of the year against Geovana Peres. This was Geovana first professional boxing fight of her career. Geovana only had 2 corporate fights and a North Island Golden Gloves amateur title to her name. But little that we knew at the time, Geovana went on to learn from this particular fight and become 2 times New Zealand National champion and of course the first-ever WBO Light Heavyweight World champion. But forgetting all her accomplishments of Geovanas career this was Geovana first professional fight. This was a close fight, but again Sarah using what she learnt and her previous professional experience to win the fight by unanimous decision. Sarah became the only person to win against Geovana Peres making this the biggest win in Sarah’s career.

Later that year Sarah went on to challenge for the New Zealand national heavyweight title against Alrie Meleisea, in one of the best women's fights New Zealand had seen at the time. It was such a close fight, that there was only one round between the winner and loser on two of the judge’s scorecards. Unfortunately, Alrie retained their title, but this won’t be the last time they will face off.

(Calden Jamieson Photo: Sarah Long title win over Ashley Campbell)

Originally Sarah Long got a rematch booked in June 2018 for the New Zealand title against Alrie Meleisea, however, Alrie pulled out of the fight a week before the fight happened due to the passing of her mother. Later in the year, Alrie vacated the title which opened a new window for Sarah to win the title. Sarah took on Ashley Campbell for the vacant New Zealand Heavyweight title. Sarah was very much the better person in the ring, simply outpunching her opponent and almost winning every round. Sarah won her New Zealand title after competing in boxing for two years. Her sons and family members erupted in a massive haka in celebration for her big victory.

Now we come to her most recent fight, with Sarah having been away from the ring in almost a year in 2019, taking on Alrie Meleisea who also haven’t been in the ring for 2 years. The two boxers went to war but the results ended in controversy as two of the judges were split by giving all the rounds to each boxer and the last judge who fairly gave it a draw. This was just another chapter in the rivalry between Alrie Melesiea and Sarah Long.

Fast forward to 2021, Sarah is the current New Zealand Heavyweight champion, ranked 10th in WBC, 4th in Boxrec and the only person to have defeated World Champion, Geovana Peres. She is also ranked 6th in IBO, 4th in WIBA, 3rd in WBF, 4th in UBF and 6th in the Lineal Boxing Champion. We can’t wait to see Sarah Long back in the ring in 2021.

Written by Benjamin Watt

Benjamin Watt is well known to all has one of the leading experts in New Zealand Boxing. He is a man of many jobs including, first openly gay boxing judge in the world, boxing writer, boxing promoter, boxrec editor, boxing commentator, Wikipedia editor and backstage event co-ordinator.

He has the nickname of "Mr Controversy" with his none filter comments he would usually make when being interviewed, on commentary or just peoples mixed feelings about him. However, despite this, he is one of New Zealand boxings biggest assets, one of New Zealand's best judges and have accomplished so much in this industry.

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