NEW Zealand’s David Light isn’t content with being a big fish in a small pond.
After claiming the number one mantle in his own backyard, the undefeated cruiserweight has now set his sights on conquering the international arena.
Light (14-0, 8 KOs) will compete outside of his home country for the first time as a professional career on Friday night, defending his WBO Oriental cruiserweight title against Trent Broadhurst as part of the stacked No Limit Boxing card.
The 28-year-old, who fights out of Auckland, recently signed a five-fight deal with the Sydney-based promotional firm after linking up with the company’s leader, Matt Rose.
Since putting pen to paper, the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist knows precisely what he is aiming for in the coming months.
“Every boxer is on a journey for a world title unless they are staying in it to just be paid,” Light told Aus-Boxing.
“He [Rose] is real on to it, what he is doing with Tszyu and other guys, the shows he is putting on are the best shows in Australia, I reckon. So I am pretty stoked to be part of that.”
Despite entering the punch-for-pay ranks at the tail end of 2017, Light has been kept busy. He fought nine times in 2018, and finished out the year with a changing of the guard moment, by defeating the country’s former top cruiserweight Lance Bryant in just two rounds.
Light then turned his attention to the next test of his career, former two-time world title challenger Mark Flanagan. Inside a sold-out ABA Stadium, Light earned a unanimous decision win over the rugged Australian, capturing his aforementioned regional title and earning himself a world ranking with the WBO in the process.
It was an impressive performance that showed the Kiwi had levels to his game not previously been seen.
Following his win over Flanagan, Light locked horns with Mexcian cruiserweight Garman Garcia. On that night, Light outpointed the lively Mexican in an encounter that was high on drama and excitement, even if it did fray the nerves of his supporters.
“Coming off our last fight [Garcia], we were a bit shaky in the first round,” he explained.
“We have just been tightening up everything and looking at everything at the base level, making sure we are getting the basics right.”
At this stage of Light’s career, it’s one thing to rack up victories on home soil, but it’s a different proposition altogether to do it on foreign turf.
Light’s trainer Isaac Peach knows how important Friday night’s bout with Broadhurst is for his fighter, with a statement win over Broadhurst being the perfect introduction to the Australian public, while also laying down a yardstick for future bouts.
“It’s just the next step, we did whatever we could do here [New Zealand]. Now we step up, go overseas and go for big fights,” he added.
“It’s an exciting deal, it’s an unknown, and he [Rose] has proven his shows are massive. It’s like anything; everything’s a risk, but we are happy with our decision, so it’s exciting, so that’s how I look at it, it’s a little bit unknown.”
Peach was concise when summing up Light’s training camp for Broadhurst, with no stone left unturned.
“He has gone through hell to fight this guy,” he said.
“Hopefully it lasts some rounds, because there has been a lot of work. We know that a lot of work has gone in to this.”
Light himself knows that from here on out, the fights will only get harder, and the stakes will only get higher. Even as the pressure continues to increase, it’s not something he would want any other way.
“Our motto since the beginning is to keep fighting, to keep stepping up, keep training,” he concluded.
“So that keeps a bit of pressure on you at all times to keep growing. I am really happy to be back.”
Words: Michael Clifton