Manu Vatuvei unleashes on Eric Murray during the 2012 Fight
for Life at Trusts Stadium. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty
Rowing star Eric Murray will be heading back to his day
job a little the worse for wear today after surviving three
rounds in the boxing ring against Manu the Beast Vatuvei.
Murray deserves kudos for taking on the fearsome Vatuvei when
no one in rugby's ranks put their hand up but his efforts
won't exactly go down in the annals of great charity boxing
With Murray dutifully clutching his gloves to his face and
dancing from side to side, it was more a case of run for your
life than Fight for Life.
"That's really what we did in training," Murray said. "Look
at my muscles. I don't have anything compared to that guy
The rower did manage to land a couple of right-hand leads but
the rest of the fight involved Vatuvei stalking his opponent
and tatooing him with hefty blows.
With the contest not really capturing the imagination, about
the best that can be said of it was that both contestants
discovered a genuine appreciation for the rigours of the
"It was fantastic learning the different skills in boxing. I
take my hat off to them. Getting in there for three 12-minute
rounds would be unbelievable."
The rest of the charity card featured some genuine blood and
New South Wales captain Paul Gallen displayed a good degree
of skill to go with his legendary toughness to score a
unanimous victory over All Black hooker Hika Elliot.
Gallen's Kangaroo team-mate Greg Bird claimed a controversial
victory over Rene Ranger, thanks mainly to a two-point
deduction imposed on the Northland rugby star for punching
Bird on the break.
The looping right hand unsettled Bird, who showed plenty of
courage to box on. Ranger also put Bird down again in the
final round with a chopping left but it wasn't enough to
overcome the deduction and Bird's strong opening round.
Daniella Smith scored a unanimous six round victory over
Lauren Eagle in the opening fight of the night. Eagle, a
former champion waterskier, model and the girlfriend of
league bad boy Todd Carney, was technically impressive but
Smith's superior power proved decisive.