In­side the ring of box­ing death

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - Tom Dil­lane

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.

Kain Par­sons

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