More recently, there have been post-war peaks, such as that associated with the defeat of the world-ranked Australian dual champion, Vic Patrick, by the young Bos Murphy in 1946; and again by the rise of the boyish-looking southpaw, Barry Brown, culminating in 1954 with his knock-out defeat of Gerald Dreyer, the South African holder of the British Empire welterweight championship. Murphy was New Zealand's first Empire champion (defeating Vince Hawkins, of England, in London); Brown was the first to win a crown in a home ring.
A contemporary of Brown's was Kitione Lave, who, as a powerful, colourful Tongan heavyweight, brought the first real challenge from the Pacific Islands. Island boxers today dominate New Zealand boxing – for instance, New Zealand professional titles in the top four weight divisions were recently held by Islanders – George Mahoni (Tonga), heavy; Johnny Nomura (Samoa), light-heavy; Tuna Scanlan (Samoa), middle; and Heinie Forsyth (Samoa), welter. Sam Levii is current welterweight champion.
The young New Zealander, it seems, has turned his thoughts to more leisurely pursuits, and it is ironic that at the present time, when both attendances and purses for the bigger fights are higher than ever before (Eddie Cotton, of America, and Johnny Halafihi, of Tonga, shared a record £4,000 at Auckland in 1961), almost all contestants are from the Islands, the United States, and Australia.