City hits canvas in bid to host title bouts
The tyranny of distance has cost Invercargill a chance of hosting next month's New Zealand elite men's and women's boxing championships.
Invercargill and Auckland were the only two centres to bid for the three-day event after no province was willing to host a combined championships this year and the event was divided between age group and elite championships.
Hamilton's Claudelands events centre will now host the juniors, cadets and youth championships as part of a four-yearly Youth Games being staged in the region, while Auckland has won out over Invercargill for the elite event, which is likely to attract 60 boxers, their coaches and supporters.
Boxing New Zealand chairman Dr John McKay said from Auckland yesterday that the cost of getting to Invercargill had been a problem.
"I think the other issue was that far and away most of the boxers come from this part of the country, so that became a major issue. It would have cost quite a lot. From Taupo or even Palmerston North, those boxers might drive [to Auckland], and I guess when you go from Christchurch to Invercargill it's a six-hour drive."
McKay said it was a shame Invercargill, which last hosted the national championships in 2004, had missed out.
Boxing New Zealand president and Southland Boxing Association secretary Tom O'Connor was disappointed at Invercargill's bid, which had strong support from the Invercargill Licensing Trust, being turned down.
"It does make sense from one aspect, the cost of travel to Invercargill, in that there's no cheap seats, makes it too expensive," he said. "It was all going to be held under one roof at the Ascot [Park Hotel]. All the accommodation, the meeting, it would be probably the first time that everything was under one roof and it would have been absolutely ideal. I thought we were in, actually."
The national championships will return to a combined format in 2014 when they will be staged in Queenstown in October. The fact the resort town had a variety of direct flights made it an attractive prospect, McKay said.
- © Fairfax NZ News