Geovana Peres has been crowned WBO light heavyweight champion of the world after seeing off Lani Daniels in a thrilling 10 round contest at SKY City in Auckland on Saturday night.
The Brazilian-Kiwi becomes New Zealand’s second WBO world champion, following in the footsteps of Joseph Parker.
Peres was a clear winner on the scorecards, earning the decision 98-92, 96-94 and 98-92, with the judges clearly preferring her relentless attack to the Daniels’ classy counter-punching in what was a relentless toe-to-toe affair.
“I’ve been working so hard for this for the last year and half,” an emotional Peres said.
“I have an amazing team behind me.
“Thank you very much to Lani. She is an amazing fighter. I had to step up my game.”
Peres said she hoped claiming the world title would empower women to chase their dreams and boost the profile of women’s boxing in New Zealand.
“Everybody please support women’s boxing in New Zealand. We have amazing fighters here,” she said.
Daniels, who could count herself an unfortunate loser after putting in a tremendous performance, was gracious in defeat.
“To Geovana, Kia kaha well done. Awesome win,” Daniels said.
Daniels pledged to rebound from the loss, saying it would make her team stronger.
“The lord brought us together for a reason. We ain’t done yet,” she said to her corner.
In the main undercard bout, undefeated prospect Hemi Ahio triumphed in an entertaining slugfest with the gargantuan Julius Long, earning a unanimous six-round points victory.
Ahio was the busier fighter, landing impressive combinations of power punches in every round, however the canny Long stood up to the repeated assaults and fought effectively off the ropes.
Long landed some good shots of his own but was unable to dent the persistent Ahio, who improves to 14-0 and within sight of a world ranking.
Earlier in the evening, Navosa Ioata moved himself into position for an NZ cruiserweight title shot with an impressive fourth round stoppage of Thomas Russell.
Heavyweight Michael Cornelius improved his professional record to 4-2 with a convincing points win over Viliamu Motusaga.
WBO light heavyweight title fight
Geovana Peres def Lani Daniels (unanimous decision)
Hemi Ahio def Julius Long by unanimous decision
Navosa Ioata def Thomas Russell (KO4)
Michael Cornelius def Viliamu Motusaga by unanimous decision