Gentiane Lupi fights Ronica Jeffrey for vacant WBO belt in New Zealand

Benjamin Watt 27/11/2015

For the first time in New Zealand history, one of the four major boxing world titles will be held on New Zealand soil. Wellington’s Gentiane Lupi will be going against American Ronica Jeffrey for the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) World Featherweight title at Auckland’s Trusts Arena in April 2016.

The other major sanctioning bodies being International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) including WBO have never held a World title in New Zealand before. The last time a New Zealand born person to have won the title was in 2011, where Daniella Smith won the first Women’s IBF World title in Germany.

The 40-year-old, Mother of three, Gentiane Lupi is a jack of all trades. Before going into fighting, Lupi was an actress starring in New Zealand films & TV series from Eagle vs Shark to Love Bites. Lupi was also a production runner in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Post acting career, Lupi became a fighter in Kickboxing, MMA fighting and of course boxing, accumulating over 27 bouts. Lupi has so far won two kickboxing tournaments, two kickboxing titles, a New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA) title and a Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) World Title.

The 32-year-old, Ronica Jeffrey from New York is a well credentialed female boxing who has fought so far in fifteen bouts. Jeffrey has also won multiple boxing titles, including WBC – NABF, WBC Silver, interim Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) World and the International Women’s Boxing Federation (IWBF) World title. Jeffrey is also well known for her fights against other credibles like Lindsay Garbatt, Olivia Gerula, Carla Torres, Ela Nunez and Natasha Spence.

Both of these boxers have never won or fought for a major world title before, despite the fact they have both won minor world titles. This bout will be the main event for the fight night dubbed the Royal Rampage.

Royal Rampage promoter Lisa Lewis says “The reason I founded Rampage Promotions was to give Boxers and want-to-be Boxers opportunities that other Boxing Promoters were not giving them. This is why at the Royal Rampage event I have such a strong women card not just because the charity is Women’s Refuge, – but because Boxing Promoters tend to ignore female fights yet after the Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey it’s very clear female fighting is here to stay in a BIG way.”

Also featuring on the card is the heavyweight explosive bout Australian New Zealander Willis Meehan vs American New Zealand Resident Julius Long, New Zealander Anthony Taylor vs Australia Michael Katsidis and seven world champion boxers.

Tickets are currently on sale at eventfinda.co.nz from $40. Limited tables are still available.