BIG-TIME boxing is coming back to Wollongong in a huge way with confirmation that former WBC super-middleweight champion Sakio Bika will headline a stacked card at the Fraternity Club on July 8.
The Contender series three winner has never been stopped in 42 fights despite sharing the ring with the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Andre Ward, Lucien Bute and Adonis Stevenson in a stellar career.
Forte Boxing Academy duo Mark Lucas and Haithem Laamouz will also get a rare chance to show their wares in a hometown fight, with coach Nudge Mieli saying the addition of Bika to card is a huge boost for boxing Illawarra.
“We’re very fortunate that, between his manager, [promotor] Paul Nasari and myself, we’ve got Sakio to come down,’ Mieli said.
“He’s very happy to have his comeback in Wollongong and he’s really supportive of Mark and Haithem so he was really happy to come down and help us out.”
38-year-old Bika hasn’t fought since losing a decision to Stevenson in April 2015, but will be looking to kick-start another world title run when he takes on West Aussie Luke Sharp at the Frat in three weeks’ time.
“From the moment he first got here you could see the excitement in his face,” Mieli said.
“Talking to him, he doesn’t feel 38 physically, he’d have been fighting if it wasn’t for injuries. He’s feeling fresh, he wants to get back to fight for a world title.
“He’s one of those guys, because he’s so unorthodox and so powerful, he’s dangerous against anyone, so it’s going to be exciting to watch that’s for sure.”
Lucas will looking to defend his OPBF middleweight title against 41-fight veteran Arnel Tinampay, while Laamouz will slug it out with tough Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes for the Australian lightweight strap.
It promises to be the biggest card in Wollongong since the Bulli Blaster Shannan Taylor was making his world title charge.
“Shannan was a great fighter in his day and had so much support in Wollongong,” Mieli said.
“We’re hoping these boys can follow that lead and we can have two or three good professional shows a year with quality opponents and quality fights here in Wollongong.”