Regional | Boxing

World boxing champ Lani Daniels receives 'big-money' fight offer

Source / Facebook

IBF women's world heavyweight champion Lani Daniels (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) is considering stepping back into the ring to defend her newly won title.

Daniels' manager John Conway says, "After Lani’s performance, there's a lot of eyes on her now."

The celebrated Pīpīwai local, who stepped away from mahi as a mental health nurse to train and live in Conway's West Auckland gym for several months this year, defeated Auckland-born Samoan, Alrie Meleisea, in a history-making title fight in May in Auckland. Afterwards, Daniels revealed she planned to retire unless some big paydays came her way.

“Otherwise, I might as well go and work somewhere. At least there’ll be a guaranteed pay cheque.”

Now Conway has told the plan is to target multiple world champion American Claressa Shields.

"There is a couple of leading contenders and it’ll be likely that it’s a two-year plan for a fight eventually with Claressa Shields in America," he said Saturday.

"Claressa Shields is probably the women's best boxer pound for pound. She's a double gold Olympian. She holds all four belts at middleweight."

Daniels is a heavyweight and Shields a middleweight so there will also need to be some manoeuvring about.

"She'll come up to super middleweight, Lani will go down to super middleweight, and we'll meet in the middle."

To secure the high-profile fight, Daniels will have to get back in the ring soon - possibly as early as August - and start making her case.

"There's going to be title fights, title defenses and new titles won so that we have a lot to offer Claressa Shields, so she will not be able to say no to us because the public will demand it. That's the plan that we are going for," said Conway.

"And we’ll do some sort of unifying bout. We’ve got about half a dozen fights to do throughout the next year or two."

Conway, who says he has been in discussions with promoters here and abroad, says there is already one big-money offer on the table.

"We have got an offer in America for a large amount of money to fight somebody," he said.

"That fight would probably be better later on. It's a little dangerous fight. It's a real unknown girl. She's got 12 fights, 12 wins, 11 knockouts. She fights like a hungry male. She's a really good fighter."

For the moment, it is a fight that will stay on Daniels' radar but Conway says his immediate focus is on a matchup in the near future which, because negotiations are at a sensitive stage, he prefers is left vague, as involving "champions in their own respective countries".

"Because the promoter doesn't want to release it and I haven't signed with them, I'm still thinking about it."

One thing is clear, though, now Daniels is world champion fighters are coming for her.

"From here on in there's no such thing as a warm-up flight," said Conway.