Combat Sports

Fa and Brock undefeated, Murphy suffers first loss

New Zealand Professional Boxing Association heavyweight champion Junior Fa and super middleweight prospect Shay Brock remained undefeated while Ricky Murphy suffered his first professional loss at the Shane Cameron-promoted Indian Motorcycles Fight Night in Auckland on Thursday.

The promotion, headlined by Fa’s six-round clash with former Australian champion Hunter Sam, featured a clutch of New Zealand’s top professional boxing prospects.

Fa – who is signed with Lou DiBella Promotions in the US and is tracking towards an eventual showdown with WBO champion Joseph Parker - emerged victorious with a scrappy unanimous points decision over the cagey Sam. However, the listless performance, as Fa struggled to come to terms with Sam’s frequent switches between orthodox and southpaw stances, will have done little to boost the 27-year-old Commonwealth Games medallist’s immediate prospects.

Fa labelled his performance “disappointing” and said he would review the fight ootage to figure out what went wrong. When he does, he’ll tune into a display that lacked intensity and aggression.

With a massive stature and wonderful skills, Fa (12-0, 6KO) has the tools to be a genuine contender. Questions remain, however, about a temperament that appears to blow hot and cold.

He will likely defend his NZPBA title in Auckland in July before heading to the US to fight under the Dibella banner. Fa’s US debut in February was an impressive third-round TKO victory over Keith Barr in Birmingham, Alabama on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s WBA title defence against Gerald Washington. But he has struggled to reproduce that form in two subsequent fights in New Zealand against Sam and Daniel Tai.

His current trajectory should see him fight for one of the major sanctioning bodies’ regional titles within the next 12 months. A victory would propel him into the top 15 of the world rankings, and into genuine relevance on the world stage.

Wednesday night’s showing against Sam, though, suggests that is far from a forgone conclusion.

Fellow undefeated prospect Shay Brock also endured a frustrating evening. Tasked with stopping Dan Maxwell – a rugged 39-year-old with 46 losses to his name – Brock came up short. While his frustrations clearly grew throughout a one-sided four-rounder, Brock at least emerged with his 12-0 record intact.

Murphy, Cameron’s super-middleweight protégé, wasn’t so fortunate. The previously undefeated Feilding prospect, who fights out of Cameron’s North Shore gym, was outgunned by stylish Tauranga-based Argentine Tomas Andres Reynoso. Murphy (9-1) struggled with the taller Reynoso’s rapier jab all night and was unable to damage Reynoso despite landing several powerful combinations.

By the end of the contest, Murphy’s swollen face told the story of a fight two of three judges scored as a 60-54 shutout.

In other results, Jordan Tuigamala improved to 4-0-1 with a points decision over Salo Ben Vui, while hard hitting cruiserweight prospect Panue Helu stopped Sivan Hermez in one round to improve to notch his seventh KO and move to 8-1-2.

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