Fighting for more than fitness

22:42, Nov 03 2013
Fight for Christchurch
IN GOOD CHEER: Fight for Christchurch contender Phil Paul with son Jack, 11, who has cancer.

A Christchurch businessman is fighting for Christchurch, while his young son wages a battle of his own.

Phil Paul, a hire company franchise owner, is one of 10 amateur contenders lining up in this year's annual Fight for Christchurch charity boxing event on November 28.

More than $360,000 has been raised since the first event in 2010.

Paul leads fundraising for his chosen charity - Ronald McDonald House South Island - with more than $17,000 confirmed three weeks out from the fight.

The facility, which provides accommodation for the families of children who are being treated in hospital  in Christchurch, is close to his heart.

Adopted son Jack, 11, is receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

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''That was motivation for doing the event this year,'' Paul said.

''Going through [Ronald McDonald House] is absolutely amazing. You don't know until you get in the door how good the facility is.

''We've met quite a few families up at the Choc [Children's Haematology Oncology Centre] ward at the hospital that use Ronald McDonald House.''

Paul's original fundraising target was $10,000, but he has set his sights on at least double that.

He was keen to top chef Phillip Kraal's $26,050 event record, set last year.

''If I could bump him off the pedestal, I'd be absolutely blown away.''

Raising funds was just one of the challenges - the other was stepping in the ring.

Paul's fighting weight is about 100 kilograms. His opponent, Bryce Robb, weighs about the same and is raising funds for the Canterbury Earthquake Children's Trust.

Paul said he was no stranger to a boxing gym, but for fitness only.

''I'm actually enjoying it. I've been getting a few hidings from some of the boys there [at the gym] and seeing the [previous contenders] go through it in the past few years, you can understand why now. It's great having someone have a decent go at you instead of mucking around. It definitely helps.''

The training schedule has increased to six days a week and he was pleased to have ''lost a few KGs'' as a result.

Paul attended the last two events and said it was ''great for Christchurch''.

However, the hype around Fight for Christchurch - billboards, advertisements, online videos and media interest - has taken some getting used to.

''It's quite weird having interviews and cameras in front of you. That's been a bit a different for me,'' he said.

To donate, visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/supportphilpaul

The Press