NAITASIRI Prince Opeti Tagi's dream of landing bigger overseas opponents was dashed by Filipino Rey Anton Olarte during the Naidiri Boxing Promotions main contest at Prince Charles Park on Saturday.
The surface around the boxing stage was like a mini swimming pool as heavy rain pelted during the later stages of the program.
Despite the wet conditions ,the fans were glued to their seats with both boxers in the main bout putting up a good show. Olarte, the southpaw, used his jabs well and kept his scorecard ticking by landing scoring punches.
By the ninth round Olarte had dropped Tagi trice to the canvas. Tagi needed a knockout to win the contest in the 10th round but could not land the killer blow.
He lost on a split points decision.
After the fight Tagi admitted that he had lost to a better boxer on the day.
He said by the time their contest was on, the canvas had become slippery in some areas.
"I would like to thank my family and fans for backing me during the fight," Tagi said.
"For the loss I take it as a man. There are no excuses as I lost the fight to a better person on the day.
"But I wish that the ring could be upgraded so it does to affect the boxers when it rains. By the time our fight was on there were wet patches.
"I want a rematch as soon as possible. But I know that I will have to prepare better. I will have to train harder in order to beat Rey."
Former BCF director Allen Harris said Tagi earned a lot of respect by standing up until the final bell.
"Opeti showed a lot of heart," Harris said.
"He came back up from the floor three times and fought until the end. Opeti put a good show but Rey was better than him."
BCF board member Malakai Veisamasama said Olarte's manager George Reno had shown interest in taking Opeti abroad.
"Reno thinks that Opeti lacks good training and sparring partners," Veisamasama said.
4x3min Junior Mana bt Arjun Kumar (3rd round ref stop contest), Franco Fraser bt Aisea Raqili (3rd round TKO), Sachin Mudaliar bt Ajmant Manna (points); 6x3min Rami Sami bt Ravneet Ton Ton (unanimous points), Ronald Naidu bt Waisale Ratu (split points), Napoleon Taumoepeau bt Alipate Naqata (1st round knockout); 8x3min Junior Naivogo and Junior Maku (draw); 10x3min Rey Anton Olarte bt Opeti Tagi (split points).