Gallen fells Thompson, Betham wins NZ title at Super 8 fight night

The rugby league stars were the headline act but the lead up fights laid the platform for some of the most even boxing action one could see.

Paul Gallen gets the unanimous decision!

Round 4: What a slugfest from the two league boys. The punch count was impressive let alone how many clean shots got through.

Round 3: What a round! Thompson stuns Gallen with some brilliant uppercuts which only seem to slow him down. Thompson's round...just.

Round 2: Gallen giving his Warrior opponent a good beating but Thompson managed to get one ungainly combo to connect. The Sharks' skipper well in control.

Round 1: Thompson is one very uncoordinated boxer and is lucky to still be involved. Gallen hasn't found a clean shot yet but someone said Thompson had some talent in the ring....

Main Event: Paul Gallen comes out and it's clear he doesn't like the fanfare. Bodene Thompson a little showier.

Ahio KO! That was brutal from the two big boys. Smashed each other senseless for five minutes and that was enough, Ahio knocking A'sa down twice in the second.

Fight Nine: Time for the big boys with Alapati A’sa and Hemi Ahio coming soon.

Betham wins the fight of very few highlights by unanimous decision. An easy one to make.

Round 10 of 10: Monty Betham has surely emulated his old man and won the NZ Cruiserweight title. Dominated from start to finish.

Round 8 of 10: Betham pegs the next two rounds back with some heavy right hands and body shots. 

Round 6 of 10: Langton has come alive and its only taken 6 rounds, his late flurry catching Betham by surprise. However, the former Warrior still looks as fresh as a daisy in his corner.

Round 4 of 10: Betham has easily built on his lead and Langton isn't quick or savvy enough to catch up with Betham's footwork.

Round 2 of 10: Betham clearly in the lead, making all the play and landing some cheeky blows. Langton needs to get on the front foot.

Here's Monthy Betham v James Langton for the NZ Cruiserweight belt no less.

Reece Papuni is now the NZ Light Heavyweight Champion!!

Great fight between Berridge and Papuni. Two hard heads. Awaiting the judges' decision...

Round 3: Reece Papuni could generate power with those swinging turbines of his. Some clean shots but mostly errant. Judges might make this go an extra round...

Round 2: When one of these fighters connects, it'll be all over. Great viewing but not technically pretty from two tired men who are trying to end it in one punch.

Round 1: Berridge throwing some sloppy left hands and connecting some, Papuni a grappling passenger at this point.

Light Heavyweight Final: Papuni and Berridge are both lucky to still be in the race after being run so close by virtual amateurs. Both went to four rounds in the semis, who has the stamina??

Charity Fight: Big win for TVNZ as Shortland Street's Bree Peters beats Lisa O'Loughlin from TV3's The Bachelor....

Unanimous Decision goes the way of Adesanya!

Round 3: Right on the final bell Adesanya lands a felling blow to Bryant but it was all academic, Adesanya dominating the fight.

Round 2: Bryant worked himself back into the fight but was lacking in accuracy and was easy pickings for Adesanya. Some wild haymakers coming out now.

Round 1: Easily Adesanya's round, ghosting his way to frustrating Bryant who can't connect. Bryant with blood flowing as well.

Cruiserweight Final: Underway between Adesanya and Bryant.....

Super 8 Finals:

Israel Adesanya v Lance Bryant - Cruiserweight

Robbie Berridge v Reece Papuni - Light Heavyweight

Fight Four has gone to the extra round and utterly dominated by Berridge who takes the fight. A shame for Falekaono who arguably deserved the three round decision.

Fight 4: The southpaw style of Robbie 'The Butcher' Berridge is next up against Sosefo Falekaono out of the same gym as Monty Betham. 

Fight Three is a walk-in-the-park for Adesanya who was cruising throughout. Fired up finally at the end of the second and unleashed a few clean uppercuts. Unanimously decided he was to progress.

Fight 3: Israel Adesanya and Zane Hopman get their call and the winner will meet Lance Bryant.

Unanimous Decision! Reece Papuni gets the nod from the three judges and there's an argument for both fighters. Sensational fight with dozens and dozens of clean shots.

Fight Two is going to extra time! Pure boxing from Papuni and debutant Riddell. Papuni won the first and buttoned off substantially, allowing Riddell to arguably edge the Kiwi champ. The judges have spoken though...

Fight 2: Current NZ champion Reece 'Lightning' Papuni up now against Bradley Riddell in the Light Heavyweights and Riddell is a late edition to the undercard - usually a kick boxer.

Fight One is over! Lance Bryant outclasses Jamie Porter in all facets, a great display of controlled aggression. Porter was passive throughout and became worse as the beating got worse.

Fight 1: Former Queensland Cruiserweight champ Jamie Porter and Lance 'Buster' Bryant first up tonight in the Cruiserweight semi finals.

RINGSIDE PREVIEW

There’s a distinct NRL flavour in the air as polarising NZW Blues captain Paul Gallen returns for another boxing instalment and it appears he’s a marked man. There’s no shortage of fighters wanting a crack at him and the Warriors Bodene Thompson is at the front of the queue.

Bodene Thompson of the Warriors

No one really knows what Thompson’s pugilistic pedigree is but hopefully he puts up a better showing than his rugby league team did at the foot end of this season.

Former Warrior and boxing personality Monty Betham wants some belt silverware and he has the chance to secure the NZ Cruiserweight Title by beating Taranaki champion James Langton. Betham’s technical ability is well renowned however it’s time for some hitting.

In the Super 8 itself, the weight classes have been split into light heavyweight and cruiserweight and features some of New Zealand’s most promising fighters.

Unorthodox Robbie Berridge gloves up, as does Joseph Kwadjo in the lighter division while previous winner Israel Adesanya returns for some more cash.

Kicking the night off is 6-0 All Samoan champ Alapati A’sa up against 8-0 Hemi Ahio who has come a long way since a brutal attack three years ago left him with a large stab wound on his chest.

Monty Betham

And, last but not least, Shortland Street's Bree Peters slugs it out against The Bachelor entrant Lisa O'Loughlin.

Fights:

Four-man Cruiserweight Tournament: Israel Adesanya, Lance Bryant, Jamie Porter, Zane Hopman

Four-man Light Heavyweight Tournament: Robbie Berridge, Reece Papuni, Bradley Riddell, Sosefo Falekaono

Hemi Ahio v Alapati A’sa

Paul Gallen v Bodene Thompson

Monty Betham vs. James Langton

Paul Gallen celebrates

Bree Peters v Lisa O’Loughlin


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Watch: The adorable moment Kiwi cyclist George Bennett gained a young fan for life

Kiwi cyclist George Bennett may have had a disappointing finish on the Tour of Spain but a video has emerged that is sure to win him plenty of fans despite the result.

Bennett finished outside the top 10 at the Vuelta a Espana but took time on the final stage to make one young fan's day.

After receiving applause from the young supporter, Bennett decided to give him an unexpected reward for his enthusiastic cheers during one of the event's climbs – his water bottle.

The moment was caught on video and shared by the boy's family on social media.

The gesture has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times with many heaping praise on Bennett for the gesture.

Bennett may have had a disappointing finish in the Tour of Spain but he made sure he made someone else’s day. Source: 1 NEWS


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Black Sox welcome back veterans in 25-man squad as attention turns from Europe tour to 2019 World Champs

The Black Sox have welcomed back a wealth of experience as well as another young pitching talent to their squad as they turn their attention from their Europe tour to next year's World Championships.

Coach Mark Sorenson has named a 25-man squad to attend a training camp in Palmerston North later this month.

All 17 players who were part of the successful Intercontinental Cup campaign in Prague last month have been included with veteran stars Nathan Nukunuku, Wayne Laulu, Tyrone Bartorillo, Josh Harbrow and Josh Pettett rejoining the squad as well.

The Black Sox used the trip to Europe as an opportunity to introduce six new caps while also getting a better understanding of the playing environment in Prague, where next year's World Championships are also being held.

"The 17 players who toured this year laid down a marker for what is required next year, but we are also excited about welcoming back some of our veteran players, and the competition for places that this will generate," Sorenson said.

"There are still a number of spots up for grabs in the World Cup squad and this camp represents the first step in making this team."

Sorenson has also included Wellington's Zac Boyd after his impressive showing at the Black Sox trials in February while Auckland catcher Harrison Valk has also been included following his strong performance with the Junior Black Sox at the U19 World Championships.

However a new face in the squad is Cantabrian pitcher Ben Watts.

Watts impressed at the National Open Clubs tournament earlier this year, guiding Papanui to the final before they were taken down by Nukunuku's Mount Albert Ramblers.

It's hoped Watts' selection will "bring plenty of heat to the pitching roster" and "further their depth".

The squad will assemble in Palmerston North from October 26-28.

Black Sox: Pita Rona (North Harbour), Benjamin Enoka, Campbell Enoka, Campbell Gibson, Cole Evans, Daniel Chapman, Eruera Drage, Harrison Valk, Kallan Compain, Nathan Nukunuku, Rhys Evans, Thomas Enoka, Zane Van Lieshout (Auckland), Joel Evans, Joseph Ferriso, Nikki Hayes (Hutt Valley), Jerome Raemaki, Josh Petitt, Wayne Laulu, Zac Boyd (Wellington), Ben Watts, Jackson Watt, Joshua Harbrow, Reilly Makea, Tyron Bartarillo (Canterbury).

Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic.
Junior Black Sox Reilly Makea bats against Czech Republic. Source: Softball NZ

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Watch: Aussie rookie leaves NFL commentators perplexed with use of drop kicks

An Australian kicker playing his first season in the NFL caught the attention of commentators in today's game between the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears by introducing a rugby technique to the sport.

Rookie punter Michael Dickson left ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten stunned after he performed drop kick kick-offs in the Seahawks' 24-17 loss.

"A drop kick kick-off?" Tessitore asked.

"We are going to send our stat folks into overdrive here, but I'm going to put it out there.

"You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?"

"I don't know if it ever happened Joe," Witten, a star tight end for the Dallas Cowboys for 15 years, replied.

Veteran Sebastian Janikowski usually kicks off for Seattle and uses a tee but coach Pete Carroll, who is known for using non-traditional methods, gambled with Dickson's rugby method.

With 14 seconds left in the game and the Seahawks needing a touchdown to tie, the Aussie attempted a short drop kick hoping his team would recover.

They didn't and the Bears held on for the win, leaving Seattle without a win in their first two games of the new season.

"We're still a work in progress," Carroll said.


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'This is bigger than boxing' – SBW motivated by charity ahead of next fight

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams says his next jaunt into the boxing ring is all about charity, rather than his reputation within the sport.

Williams, 33, will fight Australian reality TV star Stu 'The Bachelor' Laundy in Sydney on December 1, with all funds raised to go aid homeless in Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking to media in Auckland today, Williams revealed his motivation for the bout.

"This is bigger than boxing," he began.

"I'm just humbled by Stu and Max (Markson, promoter) coming to me and asking if I want to be a part of it.

"Understanding that Bill Crews (of the Exodus Foundation) and the Auckland City Mission have big parts to play in that, that's what we're trying to do and raise funds for."

The All Blacks star will face Stu 'The Bachelor' Laundy on December 1. Source: 1 NEWS