Hard part about to start for aspiring boxers

Portside Punch charity boxers gather at the Loan and Merc in Oamaru. Photo: Rachel Wybrown
Portside Punch charity boxers gather at the Loan and Merc in Oamaru. Photo: Rachel Wybrown
There are rugby referees, hockey players, cricket captains, dairy farmers, veterinarians and mums.

Within five weeks, they will all be boxers — well, that is the plan.

The 24 contenders for the second Portside Punch charity boxing event in Oamaru were revealed at a function at the Loan and Merc on Thursday night.

They will now have five weeks of intensive boxing training under father-and-son trainers Wayne and Jonathan Fisher-Hewitt, and boxer Damien Fraser, before the big night at the former Gillies Foundry building on June 30.

"I think we’ve got a good bunch of people and we will be able to put on a really good show," Wayne Fisher-Hewitt said.

"But as I said to the guys, now it starts getting harder.

"Their fitness levels are good. Now it’s a matter of turning them into good amateur boxers. And that’s about teaching people to defend themselves, not to hit."

About 45 contenders started a six-week boot camp to press for selection, but a handful dropped out due to injury before the cut was made.

Match-ups would not be confirmed until two or three weeks before fight night, Mr Fisher-Hewitt said.

"We’ve got several options within the weights we’ve got. So as we progress through training and sparring, we will start to find the best match-ups for the night."

"We’ll keep training together right up to the evening. There’s a lot of camaraderie there — everyone is trying to help one another, because they’re not exactly sure who they’re fighting."

Boxers and sponsors have first call on tickets — at $250 a pop — for the Milligans-sponsored Portside Punch, and organisers are unsure if any tickets will be left for public sale.

Half  the proceeds from the fight night will be donated to the Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, and the other half will be split locally between the Cancer Society and hospice.

The inaugural Portside Punch in 2014 raised $120,000 for the North Otago Hospice Hub.

hayden.meikle@odt.co.nz

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