Fight4Victory plans on the ropes
Fight4Victory is seeking nominations for participants but organisers are yet to secure a venue for the corporate boxing charity event.
There is interest from Makos squad members, television personalities and business leaders, but the closure of the Trafalgar Centre has dealt a serious "body blow" to planning.
Last June, Fight4Victory raised more than $50,000 for local children but round two is in jeopardy with no suitable venue confirmed just months out from the targeted date.
Saxton Stadium will host at least six events that have been transferred from the Trafalgar Centre, including a cat show and a government conference dinner. But despite the organisers having a confirmed booking at Trafalgar, they currently have no place at Saxton Stadium.
Brent Maru, general manager of facilities at Sport Tasman, has made a commitment to work with Fight4Victory to secure a date, yet he said that hinges on a safety report and other bookings.
The inaugural Fight4Victory saw 26 local sporting, business and community leaders don the gloves. They boxed in good spirit in front of an audience of 1800 to raise money for the children's life skills and fitness endeavour.
The Victory Boxing programme seeks to teach its near-100 students self-esteem, respect and discipline through non-contact boxing training.
Mike King, who was the ring announcer-MC last year, said this programme would see the entire region "reap the rewards" in years to come.
There is interest in the programme from Massey University, which has spoken to the directors about a long-term study. The programme has the support of the Nelson police district commander and, after a year, there are many success stories coming out of the Victory gym.
However, the programme's only fundraising endeavour is under threat if Saxton Stadium is unavailable. It is unlikely the charity event will - like Nelson's Stage Challenge and the Joseph Parker heavyweight bout - become a casualty of the Trafalgar Centre's December closure.
Barry Galbraith of Fight4Victory said they could be forced to move to a smaller venue with no space for general admission seating.
"We are really concerned that, three or four months out, we don't have a venue," he said. "We had so much support and momentum after last year, but now it looks like we have taken a serious body blow."
Galbraith said public enthusiasm was still well and truly behind Fight4Victory. When nominations opened late last month, the event's Facebook page received close to 8000 hits in a week and almost 30 officials nominations were tabled.
He said the participants, who are all new to boxing, will need to undergo training for around 14 weeks prior to fighting.
There will be a corporate section that will be hosted with food and refreshment. However, general admission was at "the heart" of the event.
‘We are putting this on to support the future of the Victory community and the wider Nelson community. Last year we had all 13 fights go the distance and we had about nine standing ovations from the crowd.
"If we can't offer the general admission at the lower prices, that will take the heart out of our support base."
Events like the cat show and the Regional Art Initiative have been confirmed because they do not exceed the site rating for occupancy.
Bookings for the Nelson Giants basketball home games and the Mainland Tactix netball match have not been confirmed. They are waiting on a Fire Service safety report. Yet their stadium bookings have been reserved.
The Nelson Mail understands that the set-up for those large-scale spectator events will include both general admission seating and corporate table facilities.
A temporary stand of 1400 seats will be placed inside the main entrance to the stadium, covering most of court one. There will be corporate tables around court two, which will host the action, and another 400 seats on the other side.
Maru said it had been a challenge for all the Sport Tasman, Trafalgar Centre and Nelson City Council staff to try to accommodate two stadiums worth of events into one.
And, while Fight4Victory may be on the ropes it has not been knocked out of the running for a date. "I haven't seen or been part of any decision that has said we can't host Fight4Victory at Saxton," said Maru.
"It has been a challenge [juggling bookings], but that is not necessarily negative. It has actually been quite exciting to see how we can maximise the use of Saxton Stadium.
"There is a still a big need for participation space at Saxton but the challenge is getting the best of both worlds, looking at how we can best utilise the space as Nelson's temporary events centre."
- The Nelson Mail