Sport | Lani Daniels

From registered nurse to boxing world champ - ‘We are so proud’

Ngāti Hine boxing superstar Lani Daniels has put the Northland town of Pipiwai on the map after winning the world heavyweight belt five months ago.

Daniels never fails to mention her whānau, iwi, and hapū when asked about her success. Out of all her fans, none is more supportive than her dad Michael.

“She always looks to me and her sister when she’s in the ring, and, if we smile, then she knows she is doing the job.”

Since claiming the IBF heavyweight title in April this year against South Auckalnds Alrie Meleisea, Daniels has been instrumental in putting women’s boxing at the forefront in Aotearoa, along with Super Bantamweight champion Mea Motu. They will be co-headlining a fight card in Whangārei in December this year, something her father says locals have been wanting for a long time now.

“I walk into Countdown and they say ‘Matua, Congratulations on your girl!’ I am proud of my girl really proud and I know my people are proud of my girl too.”

Daniels is a registered nurse by profession and only had her first fight 10 years ago at 25 years old.

“She only went to boxing because her sister was fighting for Canteen,” says Michael.

“She was so beautiful to watch and she got a really good hiding in the second and third rounds because she wasn’t fit enough.”

Now, after claiming the world title and defending it against South Africa’s Mohammed Razel last month, Daniels is able to pursue boxing full-time and even has the funds to help her dad with his knee surgery.

“‘Can I have your bank account number, I wanna support you and your dad’s new knees.’ That’s the kind of comments that people are giving. On Friday, I went to a specialist and looked at my X-ray and they said they can do my knees so hopefully in the near future I’ll have some new knees.”

Lani Daniels will take on Australian Desley Robinson, although that is subject to IBF approval.