Firm friends be­come foes for Satur­day fight night

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

THE best thing about Air­lie Fight Night for those step­ping into the ring is fight­ing in front of a rau­cous home crowd.

On Satur­day night the fans will face sev­eral tough de­ci­sions when it comes to who to sup­port.

Or­ren Jamel­ja­nenko or Hank Ver­wo­erdt? The two Whit­sun­day Mar­tial Arts prod­ucts have been train­ing to­gether for more than 12 weeks but on Satur­day they will be­come op­po­nents in what shapes as one of the fights of the night.

For Ver­wo­erdt, who is part of the Fight Night Ex­pe­ri­ence, it will be his maiden fight but the anx­i­ety ahead of the oc­ca­sion has been eased by those around him – in­clud­ing his op­po­nent.

“I haven’t had a fight be­fore so it’s a bit un­known,” he said.

“I’m a bit ner­vous, def­i­nitely. Ev­ery­one has been un­real though, even Or­ren, who has passed on what­ever help he can give me.

“I know Or­ren isn’t go­ing to go out there and belt my head off.”

Jamel­ja­nenko fought last year so he knows what Air­lie Fight Night is all about.

“It’s pretty much in­de­scrib­able,” he said.

“It’s the big­gest adren­a­line rush when you get out there and you ba­si­cally want to do your best for the crowd.”

Jamel­ja­nenko said his ex­pe­ri­ence at last year’s event will help but at the end of the day, it’s his one and only fight.

“In cer­tain ways it does, like with your prepa­ra­tion and stuff like that but I’m still just as green as Hank is,” he said. The two will con­test a 78kg boxing bout at Air­lie Fight Night IV on Satur­day night. The event will be held at the Whit­sun­day Sportspark’s net­ball courts.

Photo: Keagan Ryan

HOME TOWN HE­ROES: Hank Ver­wo­erdt or Or­ren Jamel­ja­nenko? The crowd at Air­lie Fight Night IV has a tough de­ci­sion to make.

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