February 4, 2023

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Dazed Carlos Spencer almost counted out in first round

Carlos Spencer reacts after Paul Whatuira’s early onslaught in their Fight for Life main event bout [Source: 1News]

Former All Black Carlos Spencer was expecting a fast start from his Fight for Life boxing opponent Paul Whatuira, the former Warriors player, and he was not disappointed.

The fight of the night came from the professional ranks: Jerome Pampellone scoring an impressive sixth-round knockout win against Joshua Francis to extend his unbeaten record to 13-0.

Pampellone, who moved down a class to cruiserweight for the fight, scored with excellent combinations early against the determined Francis, but his best came in the sixth when he fell short with a right hand but connected cleanly with a left hook which sent Francis to the canvas.

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Francis, aggressive but a little loose defensively at times, beat the count but the referee waved the fight off after Pampellone pinned his opponent against the ropes with a near perfect finishing flurry.

It was only Francis’ second loss in 15 fights, and with Pampellone taking the IBF Australasian cruiserweight title, he is now on a collision course with Australian Jay Opetaia, the undefeated IBF cruiserweight champion.

Pampellone is also now likely to enter the world’s top 15. Asked about a potential shot at a world title, he said: “If I keep focused and doing what I’m doing, I’ll get the outcome.”

Pampellone’s similarly highly-rated stablemate Andrei Mikhailovich improved his record to 19-0 against southpaw Francis Waitai in a close points decision over eight rounds.

Mikhailovich was frustrated by his opponent, and switched to southpaw himself for the start of the sixth round, but was the more aggressive fighter – especially early – and deserved his victory. He moves to 19-0.

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Former league player and now broadcaster Honey Hireme-Smiler was too good for broadcaster Tegan Yorwarth, winning with a first-round stoppage, with broadcaster Jay Reeve beating actor Tammy Davis by decision in an entertaining first fight of the night.

The Fight for Life event, promoted by Dean Lonergan, raised money for the I am Hope mental health campaign of which Mike King is closely associated. An auction on the night raised $140,000.