Lani Daniels (8-2) has become the first-ever IBF world heavyweight champion after dominating her opponent Alrie Meleisea (6-2), in a history-making fight for women's boxing.
Everything was set up perfectly for the world title fight. Anyone who attended the event would be proud to be a Maori. After Alrie Meleisea entered the ring, a Karanga happened to begin Daniels's entrance, and as she made her way to the ring, a haka broke out. After both fighters entered the ring, Mika Haka performed the New Zealand National anthem and the E te rangatahi e ngunguru nei haka.
In the first four rounds of the fight, both boxers locked horns as they fought in the pocket. Daniels was consistently landing the accurate, cleaner shots. Daniels started feeling her rhythm as she moved and picked her shots from the fifth round onwards. There were moments in the sixth and seventh rounds when it felt like Meleisea would go down, but she showed heart and stayed on her feet.
Meleisea was dripping blood out of her nose and a small cut opened up on her left eyebrow. At the beginning of the fight, Meleisea's clothes were white, but at the end it was pink from her blood.
In the last round, spirits were high for both boxers. Even though Daniels won the fight, Meleisea was happy to be in the moment.
Two judges scored the fight 98-92 and one judge had it 99-91, with Daniels winning the fight unanimously. The fight made history on multiple accounts, with the first Pasifika female to fight for a world title, the first world title contested between two New Zealand-born boxers, the first world title contested between Maori and Pasifika and Daniels becoming the fourth Maori world boxing champion.
After the bout, Daniels stated this was supposed to be her last fight. But, if major sponsors backed her and a promoter would back her, she would continue her boxing career.