DiBella Entertainment has signed Undefeated Heavyweight Contender Hemi “The Heat” Ahio (15-0, 10 KOs), of Auckland, New Zealand, to an exclusive promotional contract.
The hard-hitting Ahio will make his debut under the DiBella Entertainment banner on Friday, November 15, in a scheduled 10-round bout against Joshua Tufte (19-3, 9 KOs), of Kernersville, NC, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The featured attraction bout of the Broadway Boxing event will be live streamed exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports, starting at 9:00 p.m. MST/11:00 p.m. EST/8:00 p.m. PST.
Advance tickets, priced at $200 VIP, $100 Ringside, $60 and $30, plus service fees, are on sale now . The Salt Palace Convention Center is located at 100 S W Temple in Salt Lake City, UT 84101. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. MST. Broadway Boxing is presented by Nissan of Queens, Azad Watches, OPTYX, Christos Steak House and Gagliardi Insurance.
“I’m really appreciative of DiBella Entertainment having the faith in me to be successful in the United States,” said the 29-year-old Ahio. “Bring on the good times. I can’t wait to fight on Friday, November 15.”
“Hemi has the potential to be a big player in the heavyweight division,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Known as the ‘Tongan Tyson’ in New Zealand, he’s a huge puncher with fast hands and an exciting come-forward style. Coming off a big knockout of an undefeated prospect in Saudi Arabia, Hemi is back in the US and ready to shine on UFC Fight Pass, Friday, November 15 in Salt Lake City.”
Renowned as a street fighter in Auckland, Ahio was jumped by six assailants in early 2013 in his hometown and stabbed in the chest.
Despite his life-threatening injury, Ahio was able to knock out three of his attackers with the other three running away from the free-swinging, bloodied New Zealander. Following the notorious incident, Ahio was taken to a boxing gym by his uncle and had his first professional bout on October 18, 2013, which he won by first-round knockout.
With his tremendous hand speed and devastating power, the aggressive Kiwi heavyweight, born to Tongan parents, has drawn comparisons stylistically to a young Mike Tyson. Ahio captured the IBO Oceania-Orient and New Zealand Heavyweight Titles, winning a unanimous decision in his first 10-rounder against Daniel Tai in September 2017.
Victorious three times in 2019, he returns to the United States following a first-round knockout of Ali Kiydin on July 12 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. On March 2, 2019, Ahio made his US debut with a seventh-round stoppage versus Ed Fountain in Columbus, Ohio.
Headlining the Broadway Boxing event, fellow New Zealand heavyweight Junior Fa (18-0, 10 KOs) battles US Olympian Devin Vargas (21-5, 9 KOs), of Sylvania, OH, in a scheduled 10-round bout.