Boxing: Fighters talk up their chances ahead of tournament

Brian Minto.
Brian Minto.
Winning a prize-fighting tournament requires superior fitness, accurate punching, a ruthless finishing instinct and a bit of luck.

The Super 8 cruiserweight contenders will be hoping all that comes together at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch tonight.

Eight boxers compete in a three-round quarterfinal, semifinal and final format, with the winner receiving $25,000 out of a $100,000 prize pool and a new car.

Fighters weighed in at the Christchurch Casino yesterday, and none was more confident than the red-hot favourite, American Brian Minto.

Minto said he had had a ''great preparation'' and felt just as comfortable at cruiserweight as he did at heavyweight.

''The sight of all these guys makes me think, man, they look little compared to the guys I am used to fighting,'' Minto said.

Minto fought for a world cruiserweight title in 2010 and has been fighting at heavyweight since October that year.

He said his power would be something his opponents would not be able to handle.

Second seed Israel Adesanya lost a close-quarters final last year to this year's third seed, Daniel Ammann.

While that was Adesanya's only professional boxing fight, the King in the Ring national cruiserweight kickboxing champion has a 42-win, two-loss kickboxing record and a two-win MMA record.

The Aucklander believes he is a much better fighter and his experience in tournaments and better physical conditioning will be the difference.

''I am the tallest, I am the fastest, I have the longest reach, and I hit pretty hard as well,'' Adesanya said.

Adesanya is on the opposite side of the draw to Minto, and said if they met in the final, he would be ready for a close-quarter style of fight.

Ammann said there was not much between the top three, and he felt more ''mentally focused'' than last year when he lost in the semifinal to eventual winner and fellow Australian Brad Pitt.

Pahiatua's Lance Bryant missed the weigh-in because his flights were disrupted due to fog.

Sky Arena Director John McRae said he had no concerns about Bryant making weight and he agreed he was a bit of a dark horse to win.

Vaitele Soi, a Samoan New Zealander, will fight Australian and WBO No 13-ranked cruiserweight Anthony McCracken in the main event.

McCracken beat New Zealand's David Aloua with a devastating seventh-round TKO last year to claim the WBA Pan African, the WBO Asia Pacific and the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation titles.

He said he expected Soi to be an ''explosive and massive puncher'', but he had not been past six rounds and McCracken hoped to exploit that in their bout, scheduled for 10 three-minute rounds.

''There will be a bit of boxing going on, but I will still be standing and trading the shots,'' McCracken said.

Otago cricketer Jesse Ryder weighed in at 103.4kg, while his opponent, blogger Cameron Slater, came in at 104.5kg. They fight on the undercard in a three-round charity fight.



Super 8
The fights

Brian Minto (39 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw, 25 KO) v Monty Filimaea (10-11-1, 5 KO)

Daniel Ammann (30-8-1, 6 KO) v Farani Tavui (4-0, 1 KO)

Lance Bryant (3-1, 2 KO) v Joseph Kwadjo (21-8, 16 KO)

Israel Adesanya (0-1) v Asher Derbyshire (7-1, 2 KO)

Anthony McCracken (17-7-1, 8 KO) v Vaitele Soi (24-1, 16 KO) 


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