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By Liam Broderick
Twenty-four fighters have signed up for the Built for Battle event on October 30 at Cowles Stadium.
They will be fighting under new rules aimed at making corporate and charity boxing events safer.
The New Zealand Professional Boxing Association, which oversees professional and corporate boxing, introduced the new rules at the beginning of 2019 after the death of Kain Parsons in a Fight for Christchurch charity night.
Fighters competing in charity boxing bouts were previously only required to wear a mouthguard and 16-ounce gloves, making the risk of head injury high.
The new rules require all fighters to wear a headguard, mouthguard, groin guard (for men), and heavier 18-ounce gloves.
The heavier gloves improve safety by tiring fighters out and reducing the impact of punches as a fight progresses.
Boxer James Bates said the improvements to safety helped him decide to compete in the event.
“Eighteen-ounce gloves ... and using headgear will cut down the chance of injury by a lot,” he said.
NZPBA president Kevin Pyne said boxing is full of risks, but the new safety measures should ensure fighter safety.
“There’s a lot of intricacies and you can never be 100 per cent on top of safety, but we sure like to be 99 per cent,” he said.
The Christchurch event is one of five NZPBA-sanctioned boxing events in the South Island over the next couple of months.
It will feature 12 fights (11 men’s and one women’s) and raise money for men’s mental health charity, I Am Hope.
I Am Hope founder Mike King said he was glad charity boxing events are still running and continuing to support men’s mental health.
“Charity boxing has been the main funder of our charity since 2014,” he said.
Last year’s Built for Battle event raised $20,000 for charity, though organiser and trainer Bryan Barry said the goal was more about raising awareness, rather than money.
“If we only raise $5000 it doesn’t matter,” he said.