The Aussies are claiming him – but new IBO world cruiserweight champion Floyd Masson is one of Te Awamutu’s own.
Brisbane based Masson, whose nationality is listed as Australian by the online boxing bible Boxrec, scored a unanimous points decision over Italian Fabio Turchi in Eaton Hills, Queensland on Saturday.
It was a fight broadcast live across the ditch and rated as one of the best television scraps of the year there. The battle of two southpaws went the 12 round distance and two judges had it 115-112 and the third 117-110. That was effectively two judges calling it seven rounds to five, and the other 9-3 to Waipā born Masson, who had Turchi down in the eighth.
Masson joins Tauranga born – and Australian based – Cherneka Johnson as the second current Kiwi-born world champion. Johnson defends her IBF Super Bantamweight title in Dublin next month.
But it’s Masson who is the toast of the moment – he finished the bout with a swollen black eye, and referee Will Soulos’ shirt was strained red at the end of a torrid battle.
Turchi earned considerable praise for his resilience – it was his blood from a cut around his right eye that Soulos collected.
The Italian’s record dropped to 21 wins and three defeats – Masson improved to a perfect dozen.
Boxing analyst Benjamin Watt told The News that with Masson winning a vacant title, no mandatory challenger is waiting for their turn.
“Masson can almost pick his next opponent. At ringside doing commentary, IBF World Cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia could be a possible opponent for a unification. However, Opetaia has two mandatory challengers waiting in line for his world title.”
He said other Australians who could be contenders include Mark Flanagan and Luke Modini.
“One very possible fight that New Zealand would love would be a New Zealand v New Zealand world title fight between Floyd Masson and David Light. Light’s team have also expressed interest in the past to make that fight happen.”
Light lost by unanimous decision in a WBO world cruiserweight title fight to Lawrence Okolie in England on March 25.
Watt said three more world title fights involving New Zealanders are scheduled. On April 27 Mea Motu will take on Canadian Tania Walters for the IBO World Super Bantamweight champion in Auckland, Cherneka Johnson fights in May on the Katie Taylor fight card and New Zealanders Lani Daniels and Alrie Malaisea clash for the IBF women’s heavyweight title at the end of May.