Top surfer may make ringside splash

Last updated 14:42 18/03/2012
Paige Hareb
ASP
FROM SURF TO THE RING: Fight for Life cult hero Paige Hareb is considering following Sonny Bill Williams' example and juggling a professional boxing career with her world-class surfing campaign.

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Fight for Life cult hero Paige Hareb is considering following Sonny Bill Williams' example and juggling a professional boxing career with her world-class surfing campaign.

The charity boxing event's promoter, Dean Lonergan, has offered Hareb a spot on the undercard of the upcoming Shane Cameron v Monte Barrett fight.

"Paige was just amazing in last year's Fight for Life," Lonergan told Sunday News. "She's the pluckiest, bravest star we've had in any of the fights.

"Boxing's about entertainment, when people reach deep down and show courage and character. And Paige definitely has that because she was awesome, a little hurricane with a huge heart.

"I'd love to have Paige on the Cameron and Barrett undercard (scheduled for May), and back again for this year's Fight for Life. I know that's two fights in not much more than six months but I reckon Paige's tough enough to handle that.

"She's one of the greatest all-round female athletes New Zealand's ever produced, maybe one of the greatest, full stop. She's not only one of the world's best surfers, she was in the North Island junior soccer academy and New Zealand junior ski academy [with X Games medallist Jossi Wells]."

Lonergan has spoken to Hareb's manager, Phil Gaze, about the pro boxing offer. He and fellow Duco Events director David Higgins will have further discussions with Gaze over the next fortnight.

Lonergan said money from a sideline in professional boxing would allow Hareb to help finance her travel in her quest to become the world's No 1 surfer.

"We don't expect Paige to do this for free."

Hareb, 21, lost her main sponsor Billabong in December after eight years of support by the surfwear giant. Auckland company Debitsuccess and a private investor had stepped in to help fund her contesting her fourth Dream Tour but she still needs further financial support.

Hareb yesterday told Sunday News: "I'm seriously considering Dean's offer.

"Surfing will always be my number one priority but the reality is I need to bring more money in to support my campaign because of the amount of travel around the world.

"I hadn't actually thought about doing more fights until Dean suggested it. But if I could work in a couple of pro fights a year around my surfing commitments, in the same way Sonny Bill [Williams] does with rugby, it could work for me.

"We've had several events on this year's [surf] tour either cancelled or postponed, so the circuit is shorter than past seasons  so I could potentially do this.

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Hareb said she was surprised at how much she enjoyed her boxing debut in December's Fight for Life.

Her toe-to-toe brawl with The Crowd Goes Wild TV star Hayley Holt was the fight of the night.

But the pocket rocket was still smarting after losing a unanimous decision to Holt.

"The first round was a bit of a blur. I was a bit overwhelmed over little things, like not being used to how close the fans are to you competing. But in the second and third rounds, my competitive instincts kicked in and I had a real go.

"I still don't like the fact I've got a 0-1 record in a televised event, and that alone's enough to make me want to do a second Fight for Life."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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