Boxing: Kiwi heavyweights Alrie Meleisea, Lani Daniels square off for women's IBF crown at Auckland

For the first time ever, the IBF women's world heavyweight title will be contested in New Zealand, not to mention between two Kiwi-born boxers.

If this is the first time hearing about it, you're not alone.

Female boxing is front and centre for a change.

Although the world's No.2 heavyweight Alrie Meleisea had to go solo in the build-up, opponent and top-ranked contender Lani Daniels was busy with another fight - against COVID-19.

"Been staying here, on a couch," Daniels, 34, told Newshub. 

Promoting the sport has been a constant battle, but that slow journey could be ramped up.

"It's definitely grown, female boxing, and I think it's just getting bigger," said Daniels. "Good trainers, good coaches, good gyms and taking chances like Vasco's doing."

Promoter Vasco Kovacevic has organised the historic fight night and it's been challenging to say the least. Finding sponsors has been a struggle, with few willing to invest.

"We don't give it to them until after they've actually achieved something, but most of the time, it's bandwagon," he told Newshub.

Lani Daniels lands a punch against Geovana Peres.
Lani Daniels lands a punch against Geovana Peres. Photo credit: Photosport

The bandwagon might not be empty for long, with next month's fight showcasing the best of the best and after missing out on a WBO light-heavyweight world title in 2019, it's a second chance for Daniels.

"Yeah, that's cool... redemption," she said.

Meanwhile, Meleisea has nothing to lose.

"When you get to the end and you get what you want, I bet it's a good feeling."

Hopefully, she'll be raising the profile of women's boxing - and a belt - by the end of it.

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