Nearly a year after signing a contract with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Waianae’s Dalis Kaleiopu is set to make his professional boxing debut this weekend in California.
Kaleiopu, who signed to turn pro on February 18, 2020, will compete at 135-pounds in a four-round lightweight fight on Saturday against Eduardo Sanchez (2-3) as part of the undercard of “Diaz/Rakhimov” at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
“It’s really special. I’ve been waiting all year since COVID started and I really can’t wait to get into the ring,” Kaleiopu told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. “I was kind of stressing for them to keep pushing it back but I kind of understand with the whole COVID trip but I just learned that I just got to self motivate and keep pushing and keep pushing and it’s finally here. I can say I’m finally ready.”
A longtime staple at the Waianae Boxing Club, the 22 year old who is one of the faces of the Nito Boxing Academy under trainer Carlos “Nito” Tangaro has put together an impressive amateur career, ranked fifth by USA Boxing in his division at the time of his pro signing. With his amateur days behind him, Kaleiopu is eager to start writing a new chapter.
“I only have one shot and I got to show everybody that I was staying active and staying ready through this whole pandemic. I’m just really excited to fight,” said Kaleiopu. “I want it real bad. Real, real bad. I’ve been training hard for years and years. I’ve been waiting for this for years and I really can’t wait to show everybody how I can perform.”
Kaleiopu’s debut comes a month after his teammate Asa Stevens successfully made his debut with Golden Boy, as the 20 year old former Olympic hopeful scored a unanimous decision victory over Francisco Bonilla at bantamweight.
When asked if he intends to take a step back and enjoy the week, being that you only get to make your pro debut once, Kaleiopu made it clear that he’s focused on the task at hand.
“I mean, I can enjoy the victory,” Kaleiopu said with a smile. “I don’t know about like during the fight it’s game on. There’s no fun and games when that bell rings. So, after my victory I’ll be having more fun looking back at it like, you actually did it.”
Kaleiopu’s bout against Sanchez is scheduled for Saturday with fight card coverage starting at 2:00 pm HST.
The card will stream live globally on DAZN. Click here to learn more about DAZN in your area.
In the main event, International Boxing Federation super featherweight champion JoJo Diaz will put his title on the line against unbeaten challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov of the Republic of Tajikistan.