Chef prepares a charity dish with a punch

Christchurch chef Phillip Kraal is working on a new menu item - his knuckle sandwich.

The novice boxer and owner of Sumner restaurant Bamboozle will be hoping to test it out on former New Zealand cricketer Mark Greatbatch at Friday's Fight for Christchurch.

The annual charity event at CBS Canterbury Arena features 16 novice boxers, including Canterbury Tactix netballer Bessie Manu, who will take on Northern Mystics defender and former teammate Charlotte Kight, and actor Blair Strang against Fairfax employee Boyd Warren from The Press.

Kraal leads the fundraising with more than $23,000 secured for the Canterbury Earthquake Survivors Trust, just $2000 shy of his target. The total funds raised sit at more than $76,000.

With high-profile eateries and dozens of television appearances, Kraal is used to the limelight, but raising money for those badly injured in last February's earthquake had been humbling. "It's not about me this time, and I never thought I'd hear the day when I said that. It is all about the charity, so that's what I'm pretty focused on now."

A plan to have his body "tattooed" with sponsors' logos proved a winner. He will be the only bare-chested fighter on the night. "I'm not shy about being the centre of attention to give them absolute value for money."

Kraal wanted to fight last year, but only learned of the event four weeks before fight night. Spurred by a combination of "middle-aged ego and mid-life crisis", he ensured his name was one of the first confirmed this year.

Kraal said he had spent the past 30 years living a "very slothful life", but the training had helped him shed close to 10 kilograms. "I can't train any harder and to be honest I really needed to train hard because I was extremely unfit," he said.

All money raised will go to the trust, KidsCan, St John and the Canterbury Earthquake Children's Trust. Last year's event raised more than $110,000.

The Press