Most fight nights have one or two fights between women. Lethal Ladies is 100 percent female. Over one high-tension evening in East Auckland, 28 determined women step into the ring to punch and kick their way to the top.
VICE New Zealand was there to capture the intensity and skill of the fighters for our documentary Lethal Ladies, which you can watch right here.
Michelle “Pressure” Preston, four-time World Kickboxing Champion and winner of multiple national boxing titles, co-founded the event in 2013 to give the growing number of New Zealand women getting into Muay Thai and boxing a chance to get competitive. When you’re training in a gym that has one woman to 20 guys, it’s tough to find an opponent. “We wanted to make it easier for female fighters coming through and create more opportunities for female fighters so they didn’t have to go through what we went through,” says Preston.
The big, shiny, golden belt at the centre of the night is the WKBF (World Kickboxing Federation) New Zealand Featherweight Full Thai Rules 4 Woman Title. As well as a lengthy title, the winner gets the chance to fight an international opponent at one of the biggest events in the New Zealand fight calendar, King in the Ring. Tonight, favourite Baby “The Pitbull” Nansen is out of contention due to a stand-down period following her recent boxing title fight in New York. Quinita Hati has travelled down from the small Northland town of Moerewa, bringing with her about 60 vocal supporters from the Toa Ngātihine gym who have bought up all the VIP tables. It’s a close fight, but Hati gets beaten by Kelly Broerse. This sets up a final between and Broerse and Wendy Talbot, who managed to hold off South Islander Fiona Sim in her first fight.
“For a New Zealand fighter you want to be on King in the Ring,” says Talbot. “It's the show to make. Now that women are getting an opportunity to be on it, you don't want to turn that opportunity down.”
We’ll let the photos from the night tell the rest of the story.
Watch our documentary on Lethal Ladies here.