Nelson mayor Aldo Miccio landing a punch on Bowater Honda CEO Chris Bowater. Photo: Andrew Board.

Victory in more ways than one

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Victory was the buzz word for almost two thousand people at the Trafalgar Centre on Saturday night.
Victory for the twenty six local businesses people, sportspeople, a politician and others that jumped into the ring to help raise money for the Victory Boxing Club and victory for the club which has now secured premises thanks to money raised from the event.
Fight 4 Victory was dreamed up during a car ride from Christchurch to Nelson and aimed to raise awareness and money for the Victory Boxing Club which was rapidly running out of space for its almost 80 young boxers. The money raised from the night should be enough to secure the lease of a building on Vanguard St and help fit it out with equipment.
Each fight of three rounds was met with raucous encouragement from the sell-out crowd and organiser Paul Hampton says he was ecstatic with how it went. “I’m still pinching myself really. I just couldn’t believe the scene on the night and the feedback we’ve had has been amazing.”
Fighters included local rugby and rugby league legends, four brave women, a police officer, real estate agents, an orthodontist, mayor Aldo Miccio and his mystery opponent who turned out to be Bowater Honda CEO, Chris Bowater.
Each of the fights were even, with only one knock down and several draws. But blood was spilled, with half a dozen boxers bleeding from the nose by the end of the night and MC’s Murray Leaning and Mike King kept the crowd entertained between fights.
Former New Zealand boxing champion and Warriors captain Monty Betham was also in attendance, in the corner of Scott Gibbons.
All of the fighters appeared to be exhausted but exhilarated after their fights. Aldo says he was “buggered” after his draw with Chris. “It was really tough, jeez it was tough and Chris hit hard. But it was for a great cause.”
Paul says the event was a huge success but the focus has always been on the kids and that is why he is so happy.
“All the time it was about the kids. It’s overwhelming that a little boxing group looking after kids feels like it has a whole city behind it.”
Mike King says he’ll be back “for good”.
“I’m locked in for the next five years. I’m part of this for good. It’s one of the best events I’ve ever been a part of, it’s been awesome.”
He says the confidence the kids get from boxing is the reason he agreed to come down. “The best part for me was raising awareness for what these guys are doing. It’s not even about boxing, it’s about changing young men’s lives. Giving them confidence, giving them respect not only for other people but for themselves and the growing confidence within them. Just by being there last night and supporting these kids they’re adding to the confidence these young kids are getting and Nelson is going to see the benefits of this in years to come.  A lot of these kids are right on the cusp, they could go either way, they could be influenced by gangs, they could be influenced by bad parenting.”
Trainers for the night were Barry Galbraith, Dean Rackley, Dion Hall, Steve Mitchell and Murray Fifield.
Jeff Rackley, Paul, Barry, Ali Lawley, Emma McCashin and Pete Harris were the organising committee that put the show together. Paul says once the dust has settled planning for 2014 will begin.
“We haven’t thought about it yet but it was such a great night and we’ve had so much interest, I think we have to go again and it will be great for Victory and our wee club if we do.”
For more photos of the night visit www.nelsonweekly.co.nz or go to the Nelson Weekly Facebook page.