Milligans Portside Punch charity boxing: the contenders

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Prepare for pugilism! The 24 contenders for the Milligans Portside Punch charity boxing event are training their socks off. Before the big night on June 30, Hayden Meikle finds about more about some of these courageous people. Photos are by Rachel Wybrow.

Jason Millns
Age: 38.
Occupation: Self-employed.
Most admired boxer: Evander Holyfield.
Sporting background: Competitive age group BMX racer. Played over 200 games of rugby for Excelsior and a handful for North Otago.
Why I’m doing it: It’s just one of those opportunities that come up. You have to give it a crack. There’s no-one to hide behind – it’s just you out there. It’s something that’s quite daunting but I am up for the challenge. I also lost two grandparents to cancer so raising dollars for any organisation for health is definitely worthy.

Luke Smyth
Age: 40.
Occupation: Veterinarian at the Veterinary Centre, husband to Ashley, father to sons Leo (8), Reid (5) and Jude (2).
Most admired boxer: Muhammad Ali and Rocky. I know Rocky’s not real but I like the story.
Sporting background: I’ve had a break from sport for a while with a young family, but have got back into it, and earlier this year I completed the inaugural Alps 2 Ocean ultra marathon, a 331km run over six days from Mount Cook to Oamaru. This was tough but one of the best weeks of my life and it made me realise anything’s possible.
Why I’m doing it: Following the ultra race, I was looking for another challenge. Boxing puts me well outside my comfort zone. I’m nervous, but hopefully I can show my boys that if you put the work in, listen to advice in training, don’t back down and believe in yourself, the rest will follow. It’s fantastic to be involved in such a worthwhile community event. I feel proud to be part of it and I hope we entertain you on the night.

Tane Rogers
Age: 45.
Occupation: Newly self-employed electrician, married for 21 years to Fiona, dad to daughters Jade (18) and Kirsten (15).
Most admired boxer: Chuck Wepner.
Sporting background: I enjoy playing hockey for Tainui division 2. Like most Kiwis, I will play and watch any sport.
Why I’m doing it: I have never been one to back down from a sensible challenge. Is this a sensible challenge? I love to contribute, and this is how I can do it. This is a fantastic cause. We have all been affected by cancer somewhere, and for my family it has been in the last 12 months. Sally-Ann Donnelly continues to give so much to this town and this is just something I can do to give back. Best of luck to all the contenders on the night.

Josh Dooley
Age: 30.
Occupation: Building controls officer.
Most admired boxer: Robert “Rocky” Balboa.
Sporting background: I played a bit of rugby and football in my high school years, but my real passion is getting out into the hills chasing deer, or a few ducks out on the river, as often as possible.
Why I’m doing it: We have all been impacted by cancer or other debilitating illness through the suffering of our loved ones. It is a time when you feel helpless. I am privileged and proud to be able to make a difference in this small way. I’m doing this for them.