Bridget Saunders: Fight night at the Headhunters' HQ

01:43, Jan 31 2009
Rehab Headhunters style is all about standing up for yourself

SATURDAY NIGHT I had the choice of going to the Radio Awards, which were a big deal at SkyCity, the SPCA's dinner at St Matthew's (love the SPCA, love St Matthew's) or to a fight night at the Headhunters' HQ in Marua Rd, Ellerslie. I opted for the fight night.

This was too extraordinary an opportunity to pass up and one of the things I value most about this odd job is that it takes you right across society and opens all manner of closed doors.

The chance might never have come again.

Really, the two-storied HQ is a very big, very basic gym and walking in was fascinating! Lots of heavy looking guys, a few kids, some ladies (all nicely dressed, no slappers) and a floodlit boxing ring that had been erected over the pool. (Yes folks, they have a pool, and yes, girlies do sunbathe around it.)

There were red ribbons hanging down the sides of the ropes with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. printed on them and on each corner of the ring was painted in bold letters: Respect is earned here.

It was all a real eyeful. Guys with patches everywhere were intimidating but when one Hell's Angel stood in front of me he apologised for obscuring my view!


To the left was Otis Frizzell and other judges from the Auckland Boxing Association and wouldn't you know it, TV3's Howard Dobson walked in with a TV crew to film the big title fight of the night.

It felt like being in the middle of a film.

Later I got to look around and spotted signs saying: "The use of drugs is not permitted on these premises", "No smoking" and, by the bar, "People becoming intoxicated will be required to leave".

The really eccentric part though was that they even had fight club merchandising sorted caps, hats, T-shirts and gym bags!

The point of it all was fundraising. I said a couple of weeks ago that the Headhunters run a rehab and this is it. The rehab is basically "healthy body healthy mind". If you do the training, they will allow you to get in the ring and fight an opponent of equal ability.

Clients do hard training with hard rules. There is no sharing about how your mum didn't love you and no finding the Lord. This is pure "toughen up, pull your weight and act like a man" stuff. There is no procrastinating and if you are late, you are out.

They will give you a special cuddle and send you on your way. It might not sound very warm and fuzzy but you can imagine it working.

There were police up and down the street checking people as they came and left. And they sure don't do that at Les Mills. When we left about 2am (in a car worth about $700,000 no kidding!) we were stopped and questioned for about half an hour!


Hey, Judith!

IT'S QUITE amusing how Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard, according to Aaron Bhatnagar's blog anyway, bailed him up at an Anzac Day ceremony to give him a blast. Bhatnagar sounds a bit of a comedian. As he tells the story, he was up in the museum's dome for post ceremonial "coffee and a nibble" when "Judith Tizard and a minion of hers made a beeline for me.

"She introduced herself, and promptly told me I was a disgusting individual for allegedly telling her niece at a party some 10 years ago the rumour that she (Tizard) lost her virginity to Mat Rata in the back of a car. To be honest, I don't actually recall much of the party or the niece in question, but Tizard certainly seemed sure of the story. So I told Tizard I had no idea it happened in the back of a car. This did not make her any happier, and she proceeded to tell me further how disgusting I was. Now, this puzzled me greatly.

"Of all the things I thought Tizard would be angry at me about, it was the fact that over the years I've repeatedly and publicly described her as lightweight, arrogant, lazy and someone who has done nothing for Auckland. But none of those particular things appeared to have upset her." Sorry Aaron, but I think it's a girl thing.


Dominic dares to win

HE KNOWS all about competing! Once a Cleo Bachelor Of The Year contestant himself, Dom Bowden is hosting a new show called Dare To Win (Dom didn't), which will screen late June and telly execs are searching for contestants. They have to be family units or a group of four flatmates and must be available between May 30 and June 7. Dom will give each group a challenge, which they have to perform in front of a live TV audience.

The winners get $10,000. Ph 376-6761 if you are up for it.

About the time it goes to air, Dom, who, amazingly, once drank his own urine on national television, will be heading back to LA as it's audition time for the genre of shows he does so well. His first shot at the big time over there Next Great American Band didn't rate very well but Dom's huge talent is indisputable so fingers crossed this time he cracks it.


Lisa gets the fur flying

I HEAR ALT has been receiving correspondence from Lisa Lewis' snarly co-workers. Maybe that should read co-strippers she works at an establishment called Fire Cats in Hamilton and not all the ladies there are lavish in their praise of her. NB: Lisa gets paid to remove her clothes in Hamilton but would receive considerably less for being Alt's naked newsreader which tells us nothing we didn't know before that she is after attention. Lucky girl! She will be getting it!

Sunday Star Times