An invitation to the United States is on the table for Mount Isa boxing champion Sunny Raitava after he successfully defended his WBF World Amateur Masters title on the Sunshine Coast in April.
Raitava retained his world heavyweight belt in Caloundra on Saturday April 22 after a tough bout against Whitsundays boxer Chris Smith.
A gruelling six round win against Smith means Raitava has now been invited to defend his title in Las Vegas in April 2024, an achievement which the Fijian Australian said was "right up there" on his list of career milestones.
Raitava said he was happy to be able to bring the belt back home to Mount Isa, however, was left frustrated in Caloundra by a determined and competitive Smith.
"I don't feel it was a performance to remember," Raitava said.
"I retained the belt on points, but Chris was a very clever fighter who got me really frustrated during the bout staying in range, but I finally got an eight count against him in the fifth round," he said.
"Happy to bring the belt home to Mount Isa and to Derricks Boxing where I've trained for a number of years now and for my sponsor Secure Mine Solutions.
"This belt is as much a win for them too as it is mine."
Sunshine Coast boxing promoter at Undisputed Promotions Kim Gray said Raitava remained composed against Smith in what was a "tactical and gutsy performance" from both men.
"After a first round where both fighters sought to find their range, Chris began to open up with power punches in the second with quite a few hooks getting around Sunny's guard," Gray said.
"Sunny's punch output remained consistent as he looked for the perfect punch, but that allowed Chris to work his way through the battle in the middle rounds," he said.
Gray said Smith began to feel comfortable which is exactly what Raitava wanted
"Sunny seemingly found his confidence and fired off hooks and jabs with more frequency," he said.
"In the final round, Sunny started moving forward and barely missed a straight lefthand."
Raitava claimed the win on points and will now turn his attention towards Las Vegas where he will look to defend his world title status again, this time as he makes his international debut.
"I've always wanted to fight internationally," Raitava said.
"Boxing is what bought me to Australia from Fiji, but securing a fight in USA or Europe is right up there on the goals I'm still to achieve."
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