Boxing: More knockout events to follow

It will be back. Wednesday night's Super 8 heavyweight tournament was not a one-off, and plans are afoot to get the big bangers trading blows again soon.

The inaugural eight-man elimination tournament - the richest of its type in the world - was full of early upsets, and had a feelgood ending when New Zealander Kali Meehan claimed the $200,000 winner's purse with a first-round knockout of England's Michael Sprott.

Sky Arena director John McRae could not have been happier with the event, and said with about 200 boxers applying for a position, filling another fight card would not be a problem.

''We have always planned on doing more and this was about creating something we can replicate and build on,'' McRae said.

He said ''Kiwis love heavyweights'', so the next event would also feature heavyweights, and would ideally take place in about four months.

''We would also like to develop light-heavyweight, cruiserweight, and have a super fight on top of some of them at some stage.''

He said he wanted to see Meehan up against Hasim Rahman, and Meehan was still ''itching for it'', so that was a possibility.

''I think it has accelerated Kali's passion to knock Rahman out, and while Rahman will probably be licking his wounds, he should not feel hard done by,'' McRae said.

Rahman, the two-time world champion and No 1 seed, was eliminated from the tournament by No 8 seed Antz Nansen in their quarterfinal clash. Nansen was then beaten in the semifinal by Sprott over three rounds of impressive power punching.

McRae said Nanson had ''done Kiwis proud''. It was hoped Nansen would be part of the next show, but that was subject to a new agreement.

''I went up to Antz straight afterwards and shook his hand, then realised it was broken. But he did not flinch, because that is the type of hard man that he is,'' McRae said.

He hoped Meehan (44) would come back to defend his title, saying age was never a barrier in the competition.

''For me, it is more about coming with a clear strategy like Kali and Michael did,'' McRae said.

McRae (36) was born in Winton, grew up in Dipton and went to boarding school in Christchurch before attending the University of Otago.

Meanwhile, Meehan and his large entourage of family and friends were glowing with pride after his victory.

He said his wife had told him that if he was going to enter, he better win.

''When you are fighting, your whole family is fighting because you are such a moody bugger,'' Meehan said.

Meehan's tough, no-nonsense fighting style, and ability to eat shots before giving plenty back, made him a real crowd-pleaser, and he certainly lived up to his ''Mean Hands'' ring name.

He said he usually did not decide what he would do after a fight until he talked it through with his family, but coming back was definitely an option.

Meehan fought for the WBO heavyweight title in 2004 when he was on the wrong side of some dreadful judging and was beaten in a split decision by Lamon Brewster, before losing to Rahman in a world title eliminator.

He said as far as achievements, the Super 8 win was up there with his Brewster fight and something he would never forget.

''It is very cool,'' Meehan said.


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