By Ray Wheatley–World of Boxing
Former New Zealand heavyweight champion George Mahoni has recently passed away at the age of 72 in Tonga after living several years in the USA. The 5’8 Mahoni started his professional career in 1958 with a knockout in ten rounds over Joveci Bau in Fiji. Known as the “Niumaefolu Mohini ” George scored wins over Australians Ernie Bull Hughes via decision in twelve and technical knockout in six over Alec Ross in 1959
Mahoni captured the Australasian heavyweight crown by defeating Aussie Hall-of-Famer Clive Stewart in 1961. Peter Schmidt was stopped in thirteen rounds in New Zealand heavyweight title bout. World class 175 pounder Eddie Cotton defeated Mahoni on two occasions in 1960-first by twelve round decision and also by stoppage in eleven rounds. Cotton had lost to boxing legend Archie Moore by decision in 1957 and would later challenge for the world light heavyweight title against Jose Torres.
World class South African Mike Holt was outscored over twelve in Wellington, New Zealand in 1961 and tough American Bobby Stininato won and lost in tough fights with Mahoni in 1962.
In 1969 Mahoni hung up the gloves for good after suffering defeats at the hand of KO artist Mani Vaka and Pepe Mamea in Tongan bouts. George Mahoni was born in Tonga but boxed most of his career out of New Zealand. He will be sadly missed by the boxing fraternity from Tonga, New Zealand and Australia.