Inside the ring of boxing death
The referee of the fatal Christchurch charity fight night has broken his silence, saying victim Kain Parsons held his own in the ring until the fateful blow which cost his life.
Parsons, 37, died four days after being critically injured in the ring at the Fight for Christchurch event on November 3. The project manager was fighting former Canterbury and Tasman Makos rugby halfback Steve Alfeld in the fight night, raising money for Christchurch charities.
Now Kevin Pyne, one of New Zealand’s top professional boxing referees, has spoken of the moments leading up to the final knockout blow, and how seeing Parsons carried out on a stretcher was the worst moment of his officiating career.
“We were all deeply gutted by this incident. It’s not like we just walked away and brushed it off. It was your worst moment you could ever imagine in the ring.”
He said it was the first time a fighter had been carried out on a stretcher in his career — and there had been more than 5000 registered corporate fighters through the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association.
“He’s got three little kiddies and a wife.
“We think we’re doing it hard, but imagine how they feel.”
But Pyne won’t attribute blame. “We had done everything to the letter of the law of boxing. The matching was fair, I think Kain Parsons had an extensive time in the gym, like 18 months, and that was misreported at one stage.”
The progression of the fight also offered no warning signs, he said.
Pyne did issue two standing eight counts in the opening round against Parsons but said in both cases he did not appear hurt or struggling.
What Pyne didn’t know — and no one at the Horncastle Arena that night had been informed, he said — was that Parson had taken weeks off training prior to the bout with headaches.
A police investigation is ongoing into the event and Parsons’ death has been referred to the coroner.