Fight night or­gan­iser con­fi­dent

Otago Daily Times - - SPORT & RACING - ADRIAN SECONI

AN or­gan­iser of a char­ity box­ing event planned for Dunedin later this month says he is com­fort­able with the safety mea­sures in place.

Char­ity and cor­po­rate box­ing is in the spot­light again fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent in Christchurch which has left a boxer fight­ing for his life.

Kain Par­sons was crit­i­cally in­jured dur­ing a bout against for­mer Can­ter­bury and Tas­man Makos rugby half­back Steve Alfeld dur­ing the Fight for Christchurch event at Horn­cas­tle Arena on Satur­day night.

Auck­land gym Box­ing Al­ley stopped its reg­u­lar cor­po­rate fight nights af­ter a man was hos­pi­talised with a se­ri­ous brain in­jury in April.

Dunedin box­ing coach and New Zealand se­lec­tor Ryan Henry said he was sad­dened by the in­ci­dents. But he is con­fi­dent the event he is help­ing to or­gan­ise will be safe.

‘‘The im­age of cor­po­rate box­ing has taken a hit . . . with peo­ple just not fol­low­ing the ba­sic guide­lines,’’ Henry said.

‘‘I be­lieve you should al­ways have [the cor­po­rate fighters] train­ing to­gether and spar­ring to­gether.

‘‘We ac­tu­ally match them up to see that they are at the same skill level.

‘‘For all our fighters it is manda­tory to wear head­gear and groin pro­tec­tors. And for box­ers above 91kgs, we make them wear 18oz gloves — below that 16oz gloves.’’

It is un­der­stood Par­sons was not wear­ing pro­tec­tive head­gear.

A doc­tor will be pre­sent at the Dunedin event, and cor­po­rate box­ers will have gone through a 10­week train­ing pro­gramme.

‘‘There are some peo­ple out there mak­ing mis­takes and it is mak­ing it look bad for cor­po­rate box­ing. It is real shame this hap­pened three weeks be­fore our show where we are try­ing to abide by all the proper guide­lines.’’

The Dunedin event will be staged at the Edgar Cen­tre on Novem­ber 24.

There are 13 cor­po­rate bouts sched­uled as well as two pro­fes­sional fights. Henry said his un­der­stand­ing was it would be the first pro­fes­sional bouts in the the city for at least 20 years.

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