Chefs are known for being ultra competitive, and for having a wicked temper, but two of Nelson’s top cooks reckon smacking each other in the face won’t be that easy.
“We get on really well,” says Garry Ford. “But I’m sure that as soon as he whacks me I’ll get angry.”
Garry, the owner of restaurants Ford’s and Panama, will face Hopgood’s owner Kevin Hopgood at the Fight 4 Victory charity boxing event next April.
The pair are the latest confirmed fighters for the event that raises money for the Victory Boxing Charitable Trust, along with Nelson councillor Tim Skinner, who will line up against Wakefield’s Richard Martin.
Both chefs will be in their 50s by the time the fight comes around and Kevin joked that it should be dubbed the Grey Power fight. “I hope we get a Grey Power discount on the corporate tables.”
Programme director of Victory Boxing, Paul Hampton, says it’s fantastic to have the pair line up for the cause. “We’re really excited about having them on the fight card. They’re at the top of their field and really successful men, so for them to get behind Victory Boxing is great for us.”
Already, 35 of the 50 corporate tables have been sold and Paul says there’s strong demand for the general admission tickets.
Garry says he was approached to take part by Victory Boxing trustee, Barry Galbraith, and was immediately keen.
“I’m looking forward to getting really fit. That’s the part that interests me,” he says. “But stopping drinking will be hard,” he joked.
Neither men has any history as boxers but both were excited about taking their rivalry in Nelson’s restaurant scene into the ring. “We’ll make sure the knives are put away and it’s just boxing,” says Garry.
Both said that helping raise money for the trust was also a major motivator. “Barry and Paul do such great work, I’m really keen to support that,” says Kevin.
The other fighters confirmed are sergeants Justin Carter from the army and Stefan James from the police; hairdressers Hazel Trethowen and Libby Brumwell; lawyers Emma Riddell and Michelle Byczkow; Pomeroys general manager Hayden Thompson and Nelson Weekly editor Andrew Board.
Paul says there will be eight bouts on the card and they are “very close” to confirming a few more fights.