Kylie looks forward to birthday bash

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014

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Kylie McKenzie is looking for a double celebration at the Fight for Kidz.

She and Jade Ward will square off in one of the 12 bouts pencilled in for the charity boxing event at the ILT Stadium Southland on August 16. McKenzie turns 35 the same day.

She was to fight Monica Cairns but Cairns has withdrawn after advice from her coach.

In the past fortnight Cairns discovered McKenzie had done five months' training at an Invercargill boxing gym and didn't declare it on her Fight for Kidz application form.

"There's a big gap in our skill levels and there's not enough time to bring me up to speed," Cairns said.

"I'll still go along and help out the blue team. They're a great bunch of people and it's an awesome cause."

McKenzie said yesterday she had made a "genuine mistake" by forgetting to put her earlier training on the form.

"It was four years ago, and it was for fitness training."

A senior supervisor at Splash Palace in Invercargill, McKenzie was told in March her application to box at the Fight for Kidz had been successful. She then switched from training for a body-sculpting competition in September to preparing for her three one-minute rounds in the ring.

"It was the third time I had applied ... I had been turned down twice," McKenzie said.

"It's always been something I've wanted to do and it's for an awesome cause."

Boxers are given 12 or 13 weeks training but if they take additional coaching from a third party, they will not be allowed to fight at the event.

McKenzie enjoys the strenuous training programme, and builds on it with her own fitness work.

"We've been sparring and I love it."

As well as family and friends, 35 of McKenzie's work colleagues at Splash Palace will be cheering her on at Stadium Southland.

"It takes a lot of guts [to get in the ring]. It's a challenge, and I'm not going to be holding back."

After the fight, McKenzie will probably resume training for a body-sculpting competition.

The other women's bout at the Fight for Kidz is between Jamie Lemalie and Cilla Tauroa.

Fight for Kidz is the sixth charity boxing event Dave Bartley and Steve Boutcher have organised. Ruru School, which caters for students with special needs, will receive all money raised at next month's fight night.

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- The Southland Times

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