Sequita Hemingway, left, was defeated by Lani Daniels the only other time they fought in April 2022. Photo: Kuronokombat/CSN.NZ/Stuff
Lani Daniels (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) will take a step closer to her IBF world heavyweight title fight in May when she trades blows with Sequita Hemingway (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tūhoe) in a 'tune-up' fight in Tāmaki Makaurau on Friday night.
All the pressure is on Daniels who must win at ABA Stadium this evening to guarantee her title fight against Alrie Meleisea on May 27 goes ahead without hitch.
But Daniels - who defeated Hemingway by unanimous decision last April, the only previous time they have fought - is well prepared.
Leading into the fight, Daniels has been sparring with some of New Zealand's best, including former WBO world light heavyweight champion Geovana Peres and IBO world title contender Mea Motu.
"The mahi has been done, let the fun begin," Daniels told her followers on Facebook on Thursday - adding a 'whew!' emoji, to indicate she would not be taking Hemingway lightly.
"Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini" - Success is not the work of an individual but the work of many.”
On the line is the over 100-year-old ANBF Australasian title, which only one New Zealand woman has won before. That was Tania Reid in November 2019, who secured the lightweight title.
This will be the first time the ANBF's Australasian heavyweight title has been up for grabs.
In January, Daniels' trainer John Conway told Te Ao Māori News the fight with Hemingway, although potentially quite risky, was important for his fighter.
"It's a quality fight, you've got to beat anyone that's in front of you. As I tell all my fighters, you don't want to look at your belt in 20 years and think 'I took the easy route'."
Daniels said today she will be cooped up "preparing to go to war, channelling that inner beast".
Doors open at 6.30pm this evening, with the event scheduled to get underway from 7pm.
CSN NZ (Combat Sports Network NZ) is streaming the fight live, with Daniels and Hemingwayto take the ring between 9 and 10pm.