Berridge knuckle injury costs Va'aiga Tuigamala

Last updated 12:26 21/05/2014
Robbie Berridge
INJURED: Robbie Berridge won't fight in the "Triple Thriller" owing to bruised knuckles.

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Former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala seems set to take another potentially significant financial hit, after Robert Berridge's late withdrawal from tomorrow night's Triple Thriller event.

Sky Television is offering to refund everyone who bought the pay-per-view-event before yesterday.

"Sky is attempting to contact everyone who purchased the pay-per-view event up until Tuesday May 20th to establish if they still wish to purchase the event or cancel their booking," the broadcaster said in a statement today.

It's another body blow for Tuigamala, who is frustrated and disappointed Berridge pulled out at such late notice.

Berridge, New Zealand's highest-ranked boxer, was set to headline Tuigamala's event against fellow Kiwi light heavyweight Adrian Taihia in Auckland, only to suffer knuckle bruising in sparring last week.

While Tuigamala and his two sons, Bubba and Jordan, would compete alongside a host of Kiwi contenders, Berridge's absence was expected to impact pay-per-view sales.

After the collapse of his funeral and gym businesses, Tuigamala desperately needed this event to be a financial success.

But it seemed there would be no form of compensation for the late change, which would result in Taihia taking on Samoan light heavyweight champion Togasilimai Letoa.

That also meant a reshuffle for undefeated prospect Nick Charalampous, who would instead square off against Lower Hutt's John Roil.

"In terms of compensation ... you're cutting a very fine line at the 11th hour," Tuigamala said.

"At this stage there's no compensation. It's a painful risk the promoter takes.

"It's very hard to go up against something like this. Every contract is different. There's not much you can do. You can't force a fighter who is not fully fit to comply with the contract, hence the reason why I wanted a mutual doctor.

"In any promotion you pin a lot of your sales and awareness on your main card.

"We'll assess everything at the end of the show. We've got to be optimistic. We've done our numbers, as long as everyone is happy we'll be fine. All is not lost. There are other fighters I'm excited for."

Berridge's promoters, Duco Events, said injuries were common in boxing and, therefore, compensation was not part of the deal.

"We wouldn't have released Robbie from our promotional contract to take part on Inga's card if we didn't want to see it happen," Duco's David Higgins said.

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"It might be a stressful situation for Inga, but he's made a decision to proceed. Everyone in boxing understands injuries are part of the game," Higgins said.

"I've been on the receiving end of the Shane Cameron and David Tua injuries - both of them cost me a fair bit of money."

Berridge was thought to have sustained the injury to his left hand on Wednesday last week. He had waited until the weekend to see a doctor.

"The medical report I received was dated last Saturday," Tuigamala said.

Higgins disputed this version of events.

"I was told they tried to contact Inga immediately and couldn't get hold of him and then went to A&E," he said.

"I don't buy into the argument there was any delay."

Berridge was officially ruled out for one week yesterday by a mutual doctor, requested by Tuigamala. New Zealand Professional Boxing Association president Lance Revill also attended the assessment.

"I was holding on and hoping but we've got the result now," Tuigamala said.

"I'm disappointed but I've got to accept the doctor's findings.

"It's frustrating, but this is sports. We put a lot of time, money and energy into this promotion. I've got to take responsibility and move on.

"It's a steep learning curve but I've got to regroup. Of course, I'm disappointed a calibre of fighter like Rob isn't going to fight Adrian. These two would have been a fantastic fight."

With other fighters already arriving from overseas for today's weigh-in Tuigamala said it was too late to postpone the event.

"It's a really disappointing thing for Adrian to have to go through. My heart goes out to him. This was his opportunity to step up big time."

Berridge was due to fight again on the undercard of Joseph Parker's clash with Brian Minto on July 5.

Taihia was naturally keen to have another shot at Berridge and Higgins said no opponent was confirmed for this event.

- Stuff

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