Two dwarfs who will step into the ring for a televised boxing bout next month are set for a substantial payday.
Matthew Wood, an early-childhood teacher, and Colin Lane, a nightshift worker at SkyCity, will square off on the undercard of the Joseph Parker-Francois Botha fight in Auckland on June 13.
Fairfax Media understands Wood and Lane will each receive between $5000 and $8000 for about six weeks' training and their three-round fight. All their training and other expenses are covered as part of the deal.
"It's in the thousands," Lane said. "That's all I'll say."
That windfall ranks favourably in New Zealand boxing circles. Only top-end professional boxers make close to $5000 for a one-off fight.
Wood and Lane have known each other for 14 years.
Before Lane went to the neighbouring Albion pub after finishing his night shift and bumped into promoter David Higgins, he had never considered boxing.
"On this particular morning I was talking to the barman, and David Higgins asked if I was interested in boxing," he said.
"Here I am today. It's something different. I want to get out there and prove to the world that little people can do anything.
"All my workmates were really shocked when it came out in the papers. They are all looking forward to it.
"I've known him [Wood] a long, long time; probably 14 years.
"Before I started working, a group of us used to go out every weekend to have a bit of fun. Over the years, you have your bad moments. That always happens."
Pitting two dwarfs against each other has sparked criticism, but Higgins defended the fight, saying it was not a gimmick.
"This is absolutely a serious fight. Both blokes will give it 100 per cent, train properly and take it seriously," he said.
"I promise New Zealanders that is exactly what is happening. These guys are training around the clock and both want to win.
"A farce is what happened with Sonny Bill Williams, where the result was allegedly tampered with. These two little men are going to show Sonny Bill Williams how it's done."
- Fairfax Media
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