When the power went out for ten minutes at Saxton Stadium on Saturday night, Fight 4 Victory organiser Paul Hampton said he wasn’t nervous, “I was numb”.
After months of planning and preparing it was the one thing he and the other organisers hadn’t fretted over. Fortunately the hiccup, just as the event was due to start, was the only downside in another stunning night for the Victory Boxing Charitable Trust.
Fight 4 Victory 2 earned “much more” than the original event, which helped kickstart the trust with $50,000.
There was better boxing too, according to Paul and the judges.
“It’s so much better than last year, they’re just so, so good,” said judge Bernie Pope on the night.
The success also flowed out of the ring and into the tables and stands, where a capacity crowd supported the 20 local boxers every step of the way.
Paul says the crowd was amazing.
“The atmosphere made it special, really special. The feedback we’ve had back has been outstanding. It was a stunning night.”
In the ring, the red corner took the spoils, winning seven of the ten bouts, but a whop- ping seven fights ended in split decisions from the judges, showing just how close most of the fights were.
Paul says the spirit amongst the fighters was another highlight.
“It’s really special that there’s these two groups of people who really came together and there’s some real friendships that have come out of it.”
The finale of the night came down to a slugfest between two sergeants, police officer Steffan James and Justin Carter of the army.
Steffan says having his son and parents watching made the night even more special.
“That was huge, my boy and my mum and dad there was the driving factor of me doing something like this. My boy was in my corner and that’s something I’ll cherish forever. To have him up there was better than the win.”
Asked if the event will be back for a third edition, Paul was quick to confirm that it will be.
“Whether it’s in 12 or 18 months we don’t know yet but it will be back. We will definitely do it again.”
The winners on the night were Richard Malcolm over Tim Skinner; Michelle Byczkow over Emma Rid- dell, Heath Botica over Karl Griffin; Kevin Hopgood over Garry Ford; Tony Snape over James Max- well, Hayden Thompson over Andrew Board, James Hemi over Ivan Tava; Libby Brumwell over Hazel Tre- thowen; Rhys Horncastle over Johnnie Wilkie and Steffan James over Justin Carter.