Hawke's Bay's Joe "Juggernaut" Biczo is eyeing overseas competition after winning the World Muay Thai Council national cruiserweight kickboxing title in spectacular fashion on Saturday night.
"I want to go overseas ... I'll take anyone on," he said while deservedly buzzing after his round two knockout (in a fight scheduled for five rounds) of Dannevirke's Billy "The Kid" Davis for the vacant title in front of 550 fans at Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena.
The 18-year-old Zero Tolerance fighter had just recorded his ninth consecutive win and what he regarded as the "highlight" of his career with a left jab to the head of the more experienced Dannevirke Bulldogs fighter who has had seven wins and nine losses to date.
"I've been training since December for this and I got the result I wanted ... Dion is the best trainer in the world," he said referring to his trainer Dion Crouch who guided all four of his fighters to victory in the Jackals Martial Arts "Battle in the Bay II" tournament.
Biczo, a carpentry apprentice since leaving Karamu High School last year, was one of two Bay fighters to capture national titles at the event.
Shannon Wilson of the host club won the World Muay Thai Council's national light heavyweight title with a unanimous points-decision win over Aucklander Dave Stewart. Wilson, who works as a scaffolder when he isn't training or fighting, was always on top throughout the five rounds.
Stewart was flung through the ropes on several occasions and had an eight count against him in the second round. Wilson rated the victory as the highlight of his career.
"I wanted to redeem myself after a disappointing loss in the same tournament last year and I did that," he said, sporting a huge grin.
The sole women's fight of the night was a cracker and it saw Zero Tolerance's Natasha Bevan scored a unanimous points-decision win over her much taller opponent, Fiona Whitesage of Taranaki. Bevan's gutsy combinations proved too much for Whitesage who had the bigger reach and more power but was just unable to connect.
Another Zero Tolerance 18-year-old, Jeff Taylor, did well to beat Porirua Cosmos with a third round TKO in his first bout since leaving the novice ranks. His style is similar to that of Australian-based Hawke's Bay professional Chris Johnson.
Taylor's clubmate Tim Fairweather was another to shine on debut. The Napier Boys' High School year 11 student beat his schoolmate, year 12 Angus Young, by a unanimous points decision.
Putanga Gym's Edwin Sammy deserved his fighter-of-the-night award after a convincing all round unanimous points win against Tawhai Matchitt of the host club.
Other fights saw Taranaki's Kane Kahui score a split decision win over Jackals Dion Roberts, Masterton's Bryce Robin beat Putanga's Todd Wilson by a unanimous points decision and Jackals crowd favourite Pumipi Ngaronoa lost by a unanimous points decision to his older and more experienced Porirua opponent Nophandan who came back well after a spectacular fall out of the ring on to the trophy table.