By Liam Napier
Shane Cameron will make his heavyweight comeback in New Zealand before the year is out.
Fairfax Media can reveal Cameron will fight Kali Meehan for the WBA Oriental title - and a guaranteed top 15 ranking - in Auckland on November 22.
Restoring pride is Cameron's motivation in the all-or-nothing fight that will headline the second edition of Sky Arena's Super8.
During the course of their respective careers, Cameron (29-4) and Australia-based Kiwi Meehan (41-5) have sparred frequently and long sought a fight to test their abilities.
After a shock loss to American Brian Minto late last year, Cameron contemplated retirement. Family distractions were a factor in the lead-up to that defeat but he's now determined to prove that was an aberration.
The catalyst came when Meehan pounded his way to the inaugural Super8 title in June. After that, Cameron knew the fire was back; knew he wanted to take on the man who lost a world title eliminator to Hasim Rahman in 2004.
"The loss to Minto, I never swallowed it well. I'm very disappointed in that result. I want to resurrect that and display what I know I'm capable of against a good fighter like Kali Meehan," Cameron told Fairfax Media. "It's a bit of a selfish thing for me to prove that I'm better than that. As an athlete, I've got to tick the box with a good victory over a good opponent. Kali is a very experienced campaigner. He's been around a lot longer than me, but I know I can beat him."
Cameron is expected to collect a healthy six-figure purse, but his desire to enter a three-month training camp is purely based around unfinished business.
With his North Shore gym providing a steady source of income, the 36-year-old is not driven by money. Cameron also swiftly dismissed any concerns about his health.
"I've had the fire burning for the last month. That's my ultimate motivation for this one," he said. "I wouldn't take this fight if the body wasn't right. I wouldn't risk it. I've got plenty of other things going on which are going well."
Cameron's long-time manager, Ken Reinsfield, endured a harrowing experience when his former charge, light heavyweight Daniel MacKinnon, was brought back from the dead after suffering a bleed on his brain last year. Rigorous testing means he holds no such fears for Cameron.
"Obviously I've been through the mill and the last thing I ever want is for Shane to be injured," Reinsfield said. "We had him checked out to make sure he's physically and mentally 100 per cent and he came through fine. He's not a stupid guy. He's not going to jump in the ring if it's going to be a health issue.
"Shane has a successful business. He's not doing it for the money. He doesn't want people to remember his last fight. That's not Shane. When he turns up he's a hard man to beat. People are going to see him with the fire in his belly.
"This is a career-defining fight. If he doesn't win, it's the end of the road for him."
Kiwi cruiserweight David Aloua (11-1) will also put his WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Pan African titles on the line against Australian Daniel Baff, who is ranked 14th by the WBA. A cruiserweight Super8 competition will complete the explosive card.