A Las Vegas-based Queenstown fighter has gone the full six rounds before losing to rising Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker.
Former Queenstowner Brice Ritani, who started his Mixed Martial Arts and boxing fight career here before leaving for Vegas five years ago, lost a unanimous points decision tonight in California.
The fight was scheduled as a warm-up for 105kg-Parker who takes on veteran heavyweight Francois Botha next month in Auckland.
However, before the fight 124kg-Ritani told Mountain Scene he was no stepping stone and believed he could pull off an upset – whilst the Herald on Sunday reported nerves in the Parker camp after seeing Ritani sparring.
The upset wasn’t too be, and Ritani has been gracious in defeat.
On his Facebook page after the bout, he posted: “Didn’t have my lungs tonight…was frustrating as hell!
“Joe’s a tough kid – I just couldn’t land my shots. All the best to Joe and his career. Thanks everyone for the love and support.”
Ritani added: “You win some, you learn some.”
The Herald on Sunday’s Paul Lewis reports Parker showed the speed and ringcraft which has the boxing world marking him as a prospect.
Lewis called Ritani the perfect opponent ahead of Botha – “squat, strong and durable and he never stopped coming forward at Parker the whole bout”.