Mose fighting back after tough year

New Zealand-Samoan professional boxer Mose Auimatagi Jnr said he is looking to get 2019 off to a good start after what turned out to be a “bad year”.

The super middleweight New Zealand champion will take on fellow Kiwi Andrei Mikhailovich in an exhibition bout tonight, in what is only Auimatagi’s second appearance since his comeback win over Morgan Jones in Wales on the undercard of Joseph Parker-Anthony Joshua last March.

Auimatagi said that was a great way to start 2018, but things didn’t go according to plan after what should have been a career breakthrough.

“Seven fights fell through that year, we got just two in [Jones in March, and a win by TKO over Avefu’a Iakopo Jnr in September].

“It’s been very frustrating, people are forgetting about us.”

He said it’s been a real challenge trying to find quality opponents in New Zealand leading up to today’s fight night, with Mikhailovich having a similar experience.

“Andrei’s in the same boat.

“I’m looking forward to getting some good rounds in, this gives us a good fight to start the year.”

Auimatagi said the pair know each other quite well, having sparred a lot together previously.

Beyond tonight, he said he has one upcoming fight in the pipeline, but otherwise a clear slate for this year.

Auimatagi said at this stage in his boxing career, he probably needs to head overseas to move forward in the division.

“Most likely head to Australia, that’s where it seems to be happening in the region.”

Born and bred in New Zealand, he said it would be hard to leave home but that’s the business.

Auimatagi said he wants to leave his job as a storeman for Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, and focus entirely on boxing.

“I want things to start happening now.”

Auimatagi’s parents moved to Auckland from Samoa before his birth, but he said he’s still proud of his heritage.

He’s been to the island just once before, but is keen to come again and see family.

Auimatagi said he can also tap into Samoa’s boxing heritage.

“There’s a strong background of guys who have gone before.”

He used to be gymmates with Lupesoliai Joseph Parker at the Papatoetoe Boxing Club, and said all the Samoans on the circuit including Jai Opetaia and Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali from Australia keep in touch with each other.

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