Rene Ranger boxes on in the Fight for Life
Rene Ranger hopes to use Fight for Life to move on after being acquitted of a charge of assault with intent to injure after an incident outside a Northland Tavern in 2009.
The Blues star is likely to square off against NSW State of Origin league enforcer Greg Bird in the charity boxing event on December 15 at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere, Auckland.
In August, at Whangarei District Court, Ranger was found not guilty of the charge.
At a press conference at his lawyer's chambers afterwards, Ranger thanked his friends, family and employers and said he felt like he felt like he had been vindicated.
Speaking to Sunday News earlier this week following the announcement of his upcoming charity boxing bout, Ranger said of the court case: ''It's in the past. The verdict was not guilty.
''People can say whatever they like but I'm moving on from there and Fight for Life is a good way to do it. Prostate Cancer [Fight for Life's recipient charity] is a good cause and it [his bout] will be a challenge.''
As a professional sportsman, Ranger is accustomed to dealing with public criticism and is used to brushing it off. He understands there will be a level of controversy surrounding his bout.
''It [criticism] comes and goes. People say good and bad things about you all the time.''
The former All Black says boxing training is an ideal fitness conditioner. He hoped for a good showing in the Fight for Life.
''Boxing is a good way to let off steam,'' Ranger said. ''For me it's also something different in the pre-season before going into the Blues.
''It's a completely different fitness compared to rugby. I hope I handle myself. I'll just try holding the gloves up and when an opportunity comes throw out a jab.
"I'm a pretty cruisey bloke that likes to smile, so I hope to enjoy it.''
Fight for Life organisers admit Ranger's participation could divide public opinion.
''To be brutally honest, it will probably polarise people," Duco Events promoter David Higgins told Sunday News. ''You will always have critics. There will be people who won't tune in. We are realistic about it and we respect each opinion.
''On the other hand, there will be people who are curious and will want to see how he goes in the ring.''
Higgins added: ''Given he [Ranger] was found not guilty, we don't pass judgement. For us that's where the matter ends.''
Rugby Players' Association boss Rob Nichol also backed Ranger's decision to pull on the gloves.
''There's no issue,'' Nichol told Sunday News. ''Rene is a guy who would be the first to put up his hand [for a charity cause].''
Nichol added: ''As a person he's [Ranger] moving on and developing. There mere fact he wants to contribute to a cause of what Fight for Life is trying to achieve is a reflection of that.''