Former Aussie Olympian Paulo Aokuso’s hopes of making Australian boxing history may have been dashed after the star missed eight by over 2kg ahead of his latest fight.
The light heavyweight star, who had fought under the No Limit banner until the two parted ways in August, will headline the Battle on the Reef card, featuring several fights between NRL stars and Tevita Pangai Jr.’s first fight since retiring from rugby league.
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But whether or not he wins the fight, Aokuso’s Argentinean rival Gabriel Omar Diaz will take home the IBO Intercontinental light heavyweight title after the Aussie missed weight.
The limit in light heavyweight boxing is 79kg and Newscorp is reporting Aokuso came in a 81.3kg, more than five pounds overweight.
While Aokuso is expected to claim the win and improve his unbeaten 5-0 (3KO) record, missing weight will likely ruin his chances to equal Jeff Fenech’s record of a world title in his seventh fight.
A win would have seen Aokuso have the chance of stealing Diaz’s WBA No. 10 world ranking and make him eligible to fight for a world title as only ranked fighters can fight for world titles.
The man known as Sweet P was given two hours after initially missing weight to lose the required weight but conceded defeat.
It’s the second straight fight Aokuso has missed weight for his last fight against Renold Quinlan in July. At the time, he promised he’d “make sure it doesn’t happen again”.
Aokuso’s belt will now go home with Diaz, while he will hand over $7500 to his opponent for missing weight.
Aokuso’s manager Fidel Tukel said it was another setback for Aokuso after his long-time trainer Lincoln Hudson suffered a heart attack.
“It’s very disrespectful to the sport. Not acceptable,” Tukel said.
“He has gone well over weight, it’s more than a kilo.
“In boxing that’s not right. We have some soul-searching to do.
“To be honest, there have been a number of issues that created the problem we had (with Aokuso’s weight).
“We have had the worst preparation we could ever ask for.
“I’ve been in 300 professional fight corners over the years and this is by far the worst prep I have seen.
“Paulo’s trainer suffering a heart attack has been a massive blow.
“That really affected Paulo. He hasn’t had a trainer. I’m his manager and I’ll be taking over as his trainer for this fight.”
Tukel said handing over the title and the financial penalty was “the right thing to do”.
However, he added that he had told Aokuso to pull out of the fight night after his trainer’s health concerns.
Aokuso said Hudson’s absence had been a bitter blow.
“I haven‘t trained with Lincoln for three weeks now, so it’s not easy not having him there,” he said.
“He has been with me for every fight and every camp, but I was never going to pull out.”
Aokuso had been one of No Limit’s big prospects but parted ways as the fighter believed he wasn’t getting the promotion he deserved.
“My team and I had things planned for my career, with only five fights they’ve taken me a long way, but I feel like I deserve more if that makes sense,” Aokuso said at the time via Newscorp.
“My manager and my coaches know the same as well, we’ve chosen a different path.
“No Limit did a real good job of bringing my name out, to make sure everyone knows who ‘Sweet P’ is.
“I know I have more potential than other fighters, I have a bigger profile than them, and I feel like my name wasn’t being thrown around as much as it should be.”
When’s it on?
The Battle on the Reed will take place on Saturday October 7 from 6.45pm. The event will be held at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre.
How to watch?
The pay-per-view event is live and exclusive to Stan. Viewers will need an active Stan subscription, including signing up for a free 30-day trial, and then order the pay-per-view. However, viewers will not need to sign up for Stan Sport to view the fights.
The fights will cost $50 and will be available to watch for the following two weeks.
The Stan coverage begins at 6.30pm AEDT with the first fight kicking off at 6.45pm. The main event is expected to begin at 10pm AEDT.
Battle on the Reef Full Card
10pm – Paulo Aokuso v Gabriel Omar Diaz (IBO Intercontinental Light-Heavyweight title)
9.30pm – Jason Taumalolo v Reagan Campbell-Gillard (heavyweight)
8.55pm – Tevita Pangai Junior v Frank Amato (heavyweight)
8.30pm – Nelson Asofa-Solomona v Jarrod Wallace (heavyweight)
8.10pm – Junior Paulo v Ben Hannant (heavyweight)
7.45pm – Justin Hodges v Matt Cooper (heavyweight)
7.20pm – Jermaine Pangai v Nepote Dawadawa (heavyweight)
6.45pm – Austin Aokuso v Filimoni Naliva Jr (cruiserweight)