Kickboxing: Rae loses first fight in close points decision

Girish Rae has fought in two kickboxing events in as many weeks and all he has got to show for it is a broken nose.

The 31-year-old Muay Thai fighter's year ended in disappointment when he was beaten in his first fight in a 75kg Oceania super eight-man elimination series in Auckland.

Rae lost on points (29-28) to Aucklander Joe Hopkins and missed an opportunity to fight in an intercontinental tournament next year and potentially win $8000.

He went into the fight with a broken nose after Auckland's Edwin Samy won by technical knockout in their Extreme F1 Muay Thai fight on December 1.

Rae said apart from the nose he was feeling fine and he loved the opportunity to get back in the ring after more than a year off.

Rae, fighting out of SportsLab and his own Fi-G gym, said he probably paid the price for not finishing Hopkins when he had him hurt in the first round.

''I dropped him with a nice punch, but unfortunately the referee called it a slip and he was not given a standing eight count,'' Rae said.

He said with two rounds to go, and potentially another two fights to follow, he was thinking more about pacing himself than ending the fight, which in hindsight was a mistake.

The next two rounds were relatively even and when Hopkins raised Rae's hand at the end of the third, he thought both men knew he had won, Rae said.

''It's disappointing, but that's the way the cookie crumbles,'' Rae said.

One positive to come out of the loss was an invitation to fight in two events in Auckland next year.

Rae felt he was close to getting back to the calibre of fighter he was when he fought in Thailand early in his career.

He said the broken nose was his third in his career and, while it was annoying, it was not the reason for his loss.

''I am used to it by now, but my mum does not like the shape of my face changing,'' Rae said.

Rae's professional record now stands at 33 wins from 42 fights. All but a handful of those fights were in Thailand from 2005 until 2008.

Christchurch man Brad Riddell won the eight-man contest, while former Dunedin man Chase Hayley, now fighting out of Melbourne, lost his Commonwealth light-heavyweight title fight to Aucklander Slav Alexeichik.