Dunedin to host its first pro box­ing in decades

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT & RACING - ADRIAN SECONI

PRO­FES­SIONAL box­ing is re­turn­ing to Dunedin fol­low­ing a lengthy ab­sence.

The Dunedin Casino, Fight and Fit­ness Academy and Pound for Pound Pro­mo­tions are team­ing up to stage what is thought to be the first pro­fes­sional box­ing bouts in Dunedin for at least 20 years.

The char­ity event will in­clude two ti­tles fights plus 13 cor­po­rate bouts, and gets un­der way on Novem­ber 24.

Or­gan­iser Ryan Henry said the fight night was ini­tially sched­uled for a smaller venue, but has been moved to the Edgar Cen­tre.

He is hop­ing to at­tract a crowd of 600­700. If the event is a suc­cess, he hopes to stage fur­ther pro­fes­sional bouts in the city.

‘‘I had heard there was pos­si­bly a pro­fes­sional fight staged here in the early ’90s,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t find any in­for­ma­tion on that — I’ve just heard there was. But it has def­i­nitely been two or three decades that I know of.’’

The two sched­uled pro­fes­sional bouts shape as tight con­tests.

The main event will seen Dunedin cruis­er­weight Kurt Winkel­mann bat­tle Hamil­ton’s Nigel El­liot for the In­ter­Is­land Pro Box belt.

‘‘I ex­pect a good tough fight

from them and I guess it could go ei­ther way,’’ Henry said.

Winkel­mann has a back­ground in am­a­teur box­ing, kick­box­ing and mixed mar­tial arts.

He has had one pro­fes­sional box­ing match — a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion loss to Ratu Dawai in Christchurch in May.

That was a four­round fight, but his bout against El­liot is sched­uled for eight, so it is a big step up.

El­liot has had four fights for one win and three losses. He was knocked out by Jor­dan Tuiga­mala — the son of for­mer All Blacks and Manu Samoa winger Va’aiga Tuiga­mala — in May last year.

His most re­cent fight was a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion loss to Joshua Fran­cis in Auck­land late last year.

The other pro­fes­sional fight pits Dunedin’s Mike Pas­coe against Josh Hather­ley, from Christchurch.

They will be fight­ing for the the South Is­land Su­per Mid­dle Weight Pro Box belt.

Pas­coe has had two pro­fes­sional fights and lost both. Hather­ley has more ex­pe­ri­ence, with three wins from nine fights.

It is a six­round con­test and Henry, who has been in the cor­ner for both fighters pre­vi­ously, said ‘‘even I couldn’t pick that one’’.

For­mer All Black Tom Wil­lis is the big­gest name among the cor­po­rate con­tenders.

The hooker played five tests for his coun­try in 2002.

The event is sup­port­ing Harry’s He­roes. It is a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion set up to raise $150,000 to get Harry Finch, who has cere­bral palsy, to the United States for lifechang­ing surgery to give him the best chance of walk­ing in­de­pen­dently.

‘‘If we can raise a bit of money for him then I think that would be a good thing,’’ Henry said.

Ryan Henry

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