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Francis Waitai is “stoked” with his latest title belt. Photo: BROOKE BATH

The Champ

Paeroa has a new homegrown boxing champion after Francis Waitai scalped the World Boxing Council Australasia Silver Super Middleweight title on May 6.
The 27-year-old told The Profile he was “stoked” with his latest win against Queenslander Tangariki Mauri, and his supporters including his family, Thames-based Never Surrender Fitness Club and his coach Shaun George were “buzzing”.

“On the day I just felt really good and I just knew that I was going to win it,” he said.
“I was weary of [Tangiariki’s] power that he had coming off two knockout wins.
“So it wasn’t easy but everything went according to plan.”
Francis, who’s also the current New Zealand Super Middleweight champion, said he won the fight, which was held at YMCA Hamilton, after four of its scheduled ten rounds by a technical knockout, which is ruled when the referee believes a fighter can not continue safely.
“The ref [Josh Nyika] said before the fight if you’re taking too many shots and you need a rest you should just take a knee but [Tangiariki] took all the shots so the ref ended the fight,” he said.
“[Tangiariki] was definitely gutted.”
Francis said he will return to his regular training schedule to prepare for more boxing opportunities which may arise this year and hoped the latest win would allow him to gain sponsorship from his workplace at Silver Fern Farms in Te Aroha.