November 30, 2023

Daniels defeats Meleisea to win historic world heavyweight title fight in NZ

Lani Daniels lands a right hook.

Lani Daniels has had her hand raised as the new IBF women’s world heavyweight champion after a convincing display over 10 rounds against Alrie Meleisea in Auckland on Saturday night.

In the first-ever world title fight featuring two NZ-born boxers, Daniels clearly had the upper hand throughout, confidently raising in her arms in celebration at the final bell.

In a high-paced, entertaining bout, the judges awarded her the unanimous points decision 98-92, 98-92, and 99-91 against the Auckland-born Samoan.

The three-time NZ champion looked like she may finish the fight during the sixth and seventh rounds, but Meleisea – with blood streaming from her face – stayed in the contest, coming home strongly to edge the final couple of rounds.

‘The Smiling Assassin’ Daniels used her uppercut to her devastating effect, which in tandem with her swift footwork, made for a long night for Meleisea. 

Daniels had stated before the fight that – win or lose – she’d hang up her gloves unless she could find a significant pay day to lure her back.

But the Whangarei fighter refused to put a cap on her career immediately after her win, leaving the door open for a return to the ring.

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