Fau Vake: Fighter's death mourned at City Kickboxing, as debate over law change rages

Grief hangs heavy in the City Kickboxing gym - a typically Tongan tribute for a man taken far too soon.

"We lost a young man who had everything going for him," says spokesman Mike Angove. 

At just 25 years old, Fau Vake was a professional mixed martial arts fighter, but that won't define him.

"Titles, gold belts, prestige... that matters very little to a mother burying her son, to brothers burying their brother and to a little girl," insists Angove.  

In an Instagram tribute, partner Christina Williams says: "You've taught me what unconditional love really is, forgiveness, strength... you are the heart of your family and you are so loved."

Of their three-year-old daughter, Williams says: "She just adores you, forever a daddy's girl."

Four men have already appeared in court on a range of assault charges and police say, after Vake’s death, more charges will be filed, when they reappear next month. 

His death has reignited the debate over stricter laws for coward punches.. 

"Introducing this charge is not going to fix this behaviour, but what it will do is denounce and deter that behaviour,” victims advocate Ruth Money has told The AM Show.  

But Auckland District Court Law Society president Marie Dyhrberg disagrees: "That is already taken care of in the courts by a judge.

"You cannot allow emotion and you cannot allow bad law to creep in." 

And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agrees: "Sometimes, when you create a seperate piece of legislation, you can create unintended consequences for that. 

"Currently, you can, via a manslaughter charge, receive a term of life imprisonment." 

But Angove says there is a steely determination to create change. 

"My personal contention is it's the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Part of creating change is creating a conversation, creating an awareness and creating a minimum sentence."

He says some good must come out of this needless loss.