Cairo George in action. Photo: Ringstar Promotions.
Since turning professional in 2012, Cairo" The Waikato Warrior" George (18-1-0) has captured multiple national and international titles.
The 28-year-old is currently New Zealand's top-ranked super lightweight and has never lost a bout competing in that weight class.
On Saturday, 2 November, George will put that record to the test when he takes on Australia's Jamie " The Hardman" Hilt (10-4-1) in what will the biggest bout of his career to date. The two men are due to square off in a 12-round clash for the WBU Super Lightweight World Championship, taking place inside the Rumours International Convention Centre in Hilt's home town of Toowoomba, Australia.
November's fight represents a huge opportunity for the Kiwi. While the WBU is not one of the four main sanctioning bodies, if George can leave Toowoomba with the belt it would not only boost his world ranking but potentially open doors to even more lucrative matchups.
"I have been trying to push for bigger fights for quite a while now," George said, speaking to Newsie.
"It's just the way the game goes. I just haven't been able to get anyone to fight, the last fight I had I was scheduled to fight a guy from Fiji, then a guy from Australia. There were a handful of opponents that we went through for that fight and then it ended up a guy from Auckland who took it on short notice and that went the way it did."
"It's just been the way things have panned out that I haven't been given the opportunity to show what I can do. That's why I am quite excited for this fight, in my mind, I feel I am world-class, and this is the type of fight that allows me to show it," George added.
In his most recent outing George needed less than a minute to finish his game but outmatched opponent Tainui Enua, but Hilt will be an entirely different proposition. The 39 year-old is the current Australian National Boxing Federation Super Lightweight Champion and has only been stopped once in his career.
"He [Hilt] just looks like he is just going to always be there, one of those guys who is going to bring a lot of pressure, he is always going to be in my face. I kind of know what I am going to have to deal with on the night," George said.
George and his team, aware that they will be competing in Hilt's backyard, will be leaving no stone unturned as they begin preparation for the contest.
"We are in the process of planning out the training camp and picking out the sparring partners we think would be the best fit for this fight. I am just looking forward to a real solid camp and putting on the performance of a lifetime. I know I am going to have to go over there and be dominant because it's in his hometown," George explained.
"In my mind, this is the biggest fight of my life. When I first started boxing I never thought I would be fighting for a world title. When I first turned pro my goal was to become a New Zealand champ. I wanted to hold a New Zealand title, and that is all I wanted to achieve, and then it just sort of took on a life of its own. "
George's passion for boxing has also seen him establish his own gym, HIT Fitness HQ based in Frankton, Hamilton. The gym recently celebrated its second anniversary and is going from strength to strength.
"We have got one of the strongest gyms, we got Josh and David Nyika, and we have a number of guys who are the best in the country in their weight divisions. So the gym has built up, and we have a real solid team, so I get in some good sparring with training partners even just within my own gym which is awesome too," George said.
Since birth boxing has been an integral part of George’s life. In fact, it almost appears that the path which has led him to November’s fight was mapped out before he was even old enough to lace up a pair of gloves.
"The day I got taken out of the hospital, the first place I went to was the boxing gym, it's crazy how it turned out. I feel like in this fight; I am representing a lot more than just me. I'm representing my dad, my coaches, my team that I have in the gym and just everyone that has been supporting me in this journey. It's been a long time coming."
It may have been a long wait, but if George can get his hands on a world title , it would have been well worth it.