Muay Thai Cook Islands president Tabitha Ashin says it was the first international completion event in the Cook Islands against a contingent of New Zealand athletes, and the crowd was not disappointed, with local men and women fighters taking out the night in a hard-fought four fights to three.
In the main 74kg drawcard event, an experienced Oscar Remehana from Rarotonga won in a second round knockout against Stacey Tekuru of Wellington and Aitutaki heritage.
Despite the loss, it was a good chance for Tekuru, a relative novice with only nine fights under his belt, against Remehana with 22 previous fights, says Ashin.
In the women’s 65kg main bout, Rarotonga-based Melissa Becejski of Nesia Fitness won on points in the third round against Azania Pekepo of Auckland.
Already at her fighting weight well before the bout, Becejski was poised to take the win, while her opponent Pekepo had to shred a number of kilos.
After the fight, Becejski said she could feel the overwhelming hometown support.
In the undercard, although battling an illness before the fight, local Jonah Papa matched up against Alfred Lou Muli, and Ashin says his serious and committed approach shows he has a big future in the sport.
Other winning fighters from the Cook Islands included Taupa Tauia, Temata Arbuthnott, Puna Nooroa, Tamatoa Hunter, Taumaru Hunter, and Tikove Piira.
Ashin says Muay Thai Cook Islands now look forward to their 2019 annual event next November, with a fresh set of rival fighters flying in from Australia.