Portside Punch spectators can expect to see a smash hit, boxing trainer Wayne Fisher-Hewitt says.
The second charity boxing extravaganza, raising money for the Cancer Society and hospice, will be held in Oamaru on June 30.
Contenders had been training hard in recent weeks ahead of the announcement of the fights later this month, and they had made a lot of progress, Mr Fisher-Hewitt said.
“I think it’s opened their eyes to how difficult it is to box,” he said.
“It’s not a hit-and-hope competition.”
When he first watched the contenders warm up for training, it was obvious – by the noises they made and their movements – they did not really know what they were doing.
“Now you go into the gym when they start training just for warm up and it just sounds like a normal boxing gym with ropes just whistling.”
Much of the training had been done at the Loan and Merc.
The training crew’s main focus now was to teach the boxers how to protect themselves during the fight, Mr Fisher-Hewitt said.
“If we can teach them to block the punches then we’ve succeeded.”
Several familiar faces from North Otago have been training for the event in the hope of making the final cut.
“There’s a diverse range of people – we’ve got vets, lawyers, policemen, the whole nine yards.”
It would be tough deciding who would fight on the night, he said.
“The biggest problem is making the selection. Everyone’s put in 100%.
“There’s no guarantee some of these guys are going to get a fight and yet they are still prepared to put it in.”
One of the toughest challenges behind the Milligans-sponsored Portside Punch was trying to replicate the success of the inaugural event four years ago, Mr Fisher-Hewitt said.
The event will be held at the former Gillies Foundry building in Ribble St on June 30.
Since working with Portside Punch driving force Sally-Ann Donnelly, he had been inspired by her determination to help out the community.
“She’s quite infectious with her drive to get things done in the community.”
Mrs Donnelly herself was adamant the fight night would pack a punch.
“Everything is still on track to be another amazing night,” she said.