New Zealand boxer Shane Cameron will face the most important fight of his career when he goes up against Australian Dominic Vea for the Commonwealth Cruiserweight championship in Sydney next week - and his team wants all of New Zealand on his side. The fight, which will be screened exclusively live and free-to-air on Maori Television, is make or break for Cameron - and his best shot at a chance for the world title. The former heavyweight is currently ranked 11th in the world in the cruiserweight division but despite an impressive scorecard of 26 victories from 28 fights to date, he considers this fight to be his most important yet.
"Vea's track record speaks for itself," says Shane. "He's going to be a tough opponent - but I'm ready for him. It's going to be a great fight and I want to bring home the bacon and become the first Commonwealth title holder since Monty Beetham Snr in 1975."
Cameron's manager, Ken Reinsfeld, hopes the whole country will be getting behind the boxing star next Wednesday. "I can't stress enough how important this fight is to Shane," he says. "He needs to win this, and win it in devastating fashion, if he's to get a shot at Danny Green's world title.
"I always say 'it's not how you fall, it's how you rise', and to go from that 2009 defeat by David Tua to being just one fight away from the world title is an amazing achievement.
"Knowing that Shane will have the nation behind him next Wednesday will be a huge incentive," he says.
"And should Shane get a shot at the title, we're hoping we can stage that fight right here in New Zealand - the very first time a world title fight will have been fought in this country. It's an extra incentive to get in behind our boy."
Cameron and Vea's fight is one of five before the main event, the IBO world cruiserweight title fight between Danny Green and four-time world light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, meaning viewers are in for a great night of boxing.
M?ori Television CEO Jim Mather says the network will be backing Cameron all the way.
"We're really proud to be able to bring this fight live and free-to-air to Kiwi viewers," he says. "We're extremely proud of the Mountain Warrior and the success he has achieved so far, and we hope all of New Zealand will be cheering him on."
Cameron vs Vea and Green vs Tarver, live, exclusive and free-to-air on Maori Television, Wednesday 20 July from 9pm
Maori Television is available on Freeview Channel 5 and Sky TV channel 19