Rising Kiwi world champion Mea Motu is confident she's fit and ready for an emotional homecoming at Whangārei for her next title defence at the end of the year.
Promoter Dean Lonergan confirms they have booked another doubleheader, featuring Motu, and Peach Boxing stablemate and fellow Northland native Lani Daniels for a show in the unofficial capital of the Te Tai Tokerau on December 2.
Both fighters are fresh off impressive wins in Auckland, when Motu brushed off a dislocated shoulder to defend her IBO super bantamweight title against Malawi’s Ellen Simwaka, while Daniels finished South African Razel Mohammed in the fourth round to retain her IBF world heavyweight title.
The event will be one of six targeted over the next 14 months by Lonergan, who is eager to capitalise on what he describes as "the greatest fight night in NZ boxing history".
He plans to take the cards to the regions, with the likes of Napier, Hamilton, Wellington, Palmerston North and Nelson " all on the radar" as venues.
"We intend to turn these two women into two of the highest-profile female athletes this country has ever seen," said Lonergan.
Motu, 33, says fighting in front of her hometown crowd would be a "dream come true".
"That's bigger than a world title," she said. "That's where my heart lies.
Moru hails from the small town of Pukepoto, just outside Kaitaia, which boasts a population of 162. Daniels is from Pipiwai, about 35km northeast of Whangārei.
"Our whakapapa are back there and my roots are there, and that's where my grandparents are from," explained Motu. "That's my bloodline up there, so it means the world to me.
"It's rough and rugged. They breed us different up there… it's going to sell out.
"I'm telling you the whole far north is going to come and they're not going to get in. My family is already stressing that they're not going to get in, because it's that big."
Motu has dismissed any concerns over her dislocated shoulder, which trainer Isaac Peach managed to pop back into place during the fight, as she sat on her stool between rounds.
"It's good to go again," she laughed. "It was painful, but pain doesn't affect me - it's part of boxing.
"I'm not worried about it happening again. I've just got to look after it and rehab it really well, that's the main thing."
The upcoming events will also feature Jerome Pampellone, who edged closer towards his own light-heavyweight world title fight with his first-round demolition of the previously undefeated Luvuyo Sizani.