Regional | Alrie Meleisea

Lani Daniels goes up a gear on ESPN world rankings

Photo / Stuff

Lani Daniels (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) is being recognised as the current best heavyweight in the world, not just by world boxing bodies, but also by ESPN.

This week ESPN released its latest rankings and Daniels rose from no. 2 to top spot, following her defeat of Sequita Hemingway (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tūhoe) earlier this month. It was only last year that Daniels was 5th on their rankings.

Daniels is now ranked 1st in the IBF, WBO, WBC, BoxRec and ESPN - and 2nd with the WBA.

There is every likelihood the WBA will follow suit, assigning the humble fighter from Pīpīwai their top-ranking, NZ boxing writer Benjamin Watt says.

"It is highly likely that Daniels will be moved to the first-ranked position with WBA after a recent win and since current WBA number one Oxandia Castillo (from the Dominican Republic) has been inactive for more than a year."

Daniels' IFB world heavyweight title opponent Auckland-born Samoan fighter Alrie Meleisea - who she fights on 27 May in Auckland, in what will be the first time Māori and Pasifika fighters have contested a boxing world crown - has also moved up the ESPN rankings this week, from 5th spot to 2nd behind Daniels.

Meleisea is now ranked 2nd in the WBO, IBF, BoxRec and ESPN.

"This fight has truly become a fight between the number one and number two ranked boxer in the world."

Tickets are on sale now - with corporate tables also available.

Sky Sports is televising the fight in New Zealand and FITE TV overseas.