Portside Punch a knockout

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Oamaru’s inaugural charity boxing event was held in front of a sell-out crowd on Saturday night to raise funds for the Otago Community Hospice.

The Portside Punch Charity Boxing event took place at the Wool Store Building with all 460 seats sold for $250 each to raise funds for the creation of a Hospice House in Oamaru to help provide palliative care and support dying people and their families.

More than $10,000 was also raised from a number of items auctioned on the night including a helicopter flight over Oamaru, a Lake Ohau getaway and a Honda motorbike.

Otago Community Hospice North Otago community care coordinator Bridget McAtamney said it was moving to see so many people there to support the building of the Hospice House, especially the boxers who gave their all to the event.

“It was really moving to see people go to that extent. The courage of the boxers was incredible.”

The spectators had also put in a lot of effort to dress up and come along to the event, she said.

The money raised would be a major kick-start for the project, which is still in its early stages, Mrs McAtamney said.

One of the organisers, Sally-Ann Donnelly, said Saturday night was fantastic and she was “absolutely thrilled to bits” with it.

“The boxing [looked] a lot harder than I thought it would be.”

A substantial but currently unfinalised amount of money was raised thanks to everyone involved in the event and the spectators, she said.

“I just can’t thank the people who supported it enough. They were just out of this world.”

Another organiser, Jan Kennedy, said she was impressed by how well the Portside Punch went.

“We were impressed by everything. The venue was incredible.

“The main thing was the boxing action. We were just so impressed with those 20 people.”

A special thanks was needed to the trainers who prepared the fighters, none of whom had any prior experience, to fight successfully on the night, she said.

“It was as if those people had been boxing for years.”

Spectator and sponsor Brian de Geest of de Geest Construction Ltd said he really enjoyed the evening, which was for such a great cause.

“It was awesome.”

Alliance Group Pukeuri plant manager Geoff Proctor, who sponsored fighter Gary Burn, said the event was one of the most entertaining evenings he had had in Oamaru.

“I take my hat off to the competitors. I thought it was a great event for a great cause.

“It was great to see everyone get behind it.”

By RUBY HARFIELD