news, latest-news, dean lonergan, jeff horn, national boxing series, boxing australia, jai opetaia, brock jarvis, jeff fenech

A landmark deal designed to bring boxing back into the mainstream could lay the platform for world title fights at a sold-out Canberra Stadium. That is the dream of boxing promoter Dean Lonergan amid the launch of the National Boxing Series which will see at least one event per year in Canberra televised live on Fox Sports. The man that orchestrated Jeff Horn’s stunning rise from school teacher to world champion with a win over Manny Pacquiao at a packed-out Suncorp Stadium is determined to develop a Canberra local into a global star to steel a boxing revival. Canberra is pencilled in to host round six of the NBS in June with a card that could be headlined by world-ranked super bantamweight Brock Jarvis (17-0) or cruiserweight Jai Opetaia (18-0) as they edge closer to a world title shot. “It’s not outside the realms of possibility that one day we could be at Canberra Stadium with 30,000 people through the gates,” Lonergan said. “From small beginnings can grow great things, oak trees come from acorns. We’re going to start small and we will build it, and it will build very quickly. “One of the major goals of the National Boxing Series is to build world champions and superstars. MORE BOXING “Hopefully one day we can bring a world title down to Canberra, maybe with a Brock Jarvis or a Jai Opetaia, guys that have come out of Sydney and Newcastle who would bring huge amounts of fans with them, and visitation to the region. “[Capital Fight Show promoter Nick Boutzos] has done an amazing job down in Canberra, and working closely with him, one day I’d like to build a local star out of Canberra who can do something on a global scale. “For the time being we’ve got these five fighters signed to the National Boxing Series, and I can see at some stage in the near future both Jai Opetaia and Brock Jarvis fighting down there, of course supported by his trainer Jeff Fenech.” Lonergan has signed Jarvis, Opetaia, Jayde Mitchell (19-1-0), Issac Hardman (5-0) and Liam Wilson (4-0) as he sets his sights on building a new generation of Australian world champions. The D & L Events led series kicks off when Opetaia faces former world title challenger Mark Flanagan at the Hordern Pavilion on November 16. It is the first of nine events scheduled to be shown live on Fox Sports in the next 12 months with another four pay-per-view events added into the mix. “The biggest thing with the National Boxing Series is there is a big opportunity for the guys I’ve got signed up, and there are big opportunities for the guys coming through,” Lonergan said. “From a Canberra point of view, we would love to have a superstar come out of Canberra. “We were talking very closely with Dave Toussaint for some time, he was going places at 13-0 but unfortunately he finished up, that’s the way it turned out. “We would love to get a superstar out of there. It will come, it just takes time.” One of the NBS’ major goals is to improve the safety of the sport with matchmaker Stu Duncan securing distribution rights for a portable hand-held hematoma detector. Boxers will ideally be scanned at weigh-ins, while a trained scanning agent will be present at events to screen boxers as they deem necessary. Lonergan will also work with former world champion-turned trainer Fenech to develop a program to educate trainers about a safety-first approach to the sport that will see fighters retire “healthy and wealthy”. “It’s simply about trainers looking after your fighter, firstly in sparring, not letting your fighter go to war in the gym,” Fenech said. “I cringe at how many times I was guilty of that with my sparring partners, and it has to stop. “Secondly when a fighter is getting well beaten in a fight, trainers have to learn it not a sin to stop the fight to protect the boxer’s future health.”

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