Ordinary folk sign up to boxing challenge
What drives a lawyer, a teacher, an insurance adviser and a pharmacist to fight?
The boxing ring, usually reserved for hardened warriors and elite athletes, has become a personal battleground for Hamilton's businessmen and women.
About 20 peaceful white collar workers have signed up for a corporate boxing event, titled The Fight Game, to be held at Claudelands Events Centre on December 8.
Most have never been in a fight before. The few who have either had scuffles on the rugby field, or traded blows after a few too many beers at the pub.
The motivation for pulling on a pair of boxing gloves and committing to a gruelling 12-week training schedule is almost unanimous.
"It's just one of those things you've got to tick off on your bucket list," 55-year-old Les Harrison said.
Having a fight, it seems, is on a list of things people want to do before they die.
Whether it's remnants of gladiator genetics swimming around in our DNA, or simply a desire to be catapulted from all sense of comfort - people just want to fight.
"I suppose the biggest thing is taking a good punch," Mr Harrison, owner of Les Harrison Transport said.
For Matenga O'Brien, 51, health is the main motivator for getting in the ring.
"I've seen a few of my relations pass away far too young, you see, so I'm determined not to be one of those."
The Matamata-Piako District Council roading engineer said his biggest fear will not be his opponent.
"Just being in front of the crowd is going to be the scariest thing," he said. "I'm not one for being out in front of a whole lot of people."
Pharmacist Simon Nyika, whose son David is a top amateur boxer, said he wanted to show "the heart of a fighter and the skills of a boxer".
"I don't want to walk away thinking that I didn't give it everything.
"I don't fear failure as much as I fear not pushing myself to the best of my ability."
The stable of soon-to-be boxers train up to six days a week at Ringside Gym.
The trainers match opponents based on age, size and ability closer to the event to ensure the fight is fair and competitive.
The Fight Game co-director and trainer Eske Dost said that for most of those taking part in the event, it will be the first and last time they fight.
"It's something that doesn't come along every day and the people that have come on board, they're ordinary people, but choosing to do an exceptional thing."
The event is a fundraiser for youth boxing in Hamilton and the development of potential Commonwealth and Olympic Games boxers.
Jonathan Carson will also take to the ring in The Fight Game.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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