Upright Mike pledges to live up to nickname

Dunedin boxer Michael Pascoe reflects on his upcoming bout against Josh Hatherley. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin boxer Michael Pascoe reflects on his upcoming bout against Josh Hatherley. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Upright Mike is hoping to stay that way when professional boxing returns to Dunedin on Saturday.

Dunedin fighter Michael Pascoe will be part of history when he enters the ring at the Edgar Centre.

The 28-year-old will contest the first professional bout in the city for at least 20 years.

He will also debut his nickname - Upright Mike.

To be fair, he has had the moniker for a while but has never entered the ring as Upright Mike.

The nickname has everything to do with his chin and nothing to do with taking long naps during the afternoon, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Actually, Pascoe could be forgiven for the odd siesta. He has been training hard for what will be his third professional fight.

He is fighting Josh Hatherley, of Christchurch, for the South Island Super Middleweight Pro Box belt.

It is one of two professional bouts at the venue that night. There are also 13 corporate bouts scheduled. Former All Black and Highlander Tom Willis is the biggest name among the corporate contenders.

''It has kind of unofficially been my nickname for a while,'' Pascoe said.

''But it will be official [on Saturday]. I'm definitely not going down,'' Pascoe said.

Pascoe had his first two professional boxing matches in July. They were in Australia and he lost both by unanimous decision.

''Those guys were a bit more experienced than me but there was a lot to learn from them.''

Pascoe has stepped up his training regime in the hope of posting his first professional win.

''I have seen [Josh] fight a little bit so we know his style. We are confident enough in our own style to know that is going to work against him, really.''

Pascoe, who is a production manager at Farra Machining, typically moves around the ring waiting for an opening to land his power punch - a right uppercut.

He played squash and rugby when he was younger. He took up boxing for fitness and enjoyed it more.

He has had about 50 jiu jitsu fights and has also competed in kick boxing and mixed martial arts.

''Just whatever, really. It is all a challenge.''

The main event on the card is a cruiserweight bout between Dunedin's Kurt Winkelmann and Hamilton's Nigel Elliott.

It is for the Inter-Island Pro Box belt. Elliott has had four professional fights for one win and three losses.

Winkelmann has had just one fight - a loss to Ratu Dawai in Christchurch in May.

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