Training hard for charity event


Let’s get ready to rumble. 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 from Rachel Wybrow.


Age: 25.

Occupation: Technical field rep for PGG Wrightson.

Most admired boxer: David Nyika.

Josh Dalziel.

Sporting background: I play competitive hockey and tennis, both for North Otago. I enjoy the team aspect of hockey, whereas tennis is such a mental game. You can also hit both balls as hard as you like and they don’t hit back!

Why I’m doing it: It is something completely different for me. I have not played a full-contact sport since high school so the challenge is both frightening and exciting. Sally-Ann and the Fisher-Hewitt family have done a fantastic job to put this event together and raise so much money for such a good cause, so it is an honour to be a part of the event.


Age: 42.

Occupation: Electrician – owner of Plunket Electrical – and father to Kaylah (16), Kase (14) and Charlie (8).

Most admired boxer:Muhammad Ali.

Mark Rawson.

Sporting background: I am a keen hunter and spend as much time out hiking in hills as I can. Recently, I took on the epic Motutapu bike event at short notice and completed it in a respectable time.

Why I’m doing it: It was great to see the success of the previous Portside Punch, and when the opportunity came up to help raise another significant amount of money, I jumped at the chance. Also, I do like a good challenge, and to avoid being continuously punched in the head is most definitely that! A bonus is the camaraderie we’ve created with the Portside family. The support and encouragement from fellow participants has been particularly motivating. This is by far one of the scariest things I have done – bring it on!


Age: 20! (Actually 39.)

Occupation: Banking consultant at Westpac, partner to a builder, and mother to Jaxson and Matai.

Most admired boxer: Manny Pacquiao.

Sonya Macdonald.

Sporting background: I have been really lucky to have had the opportunity to play a lot of sports over the years. I have represented North Otago and Otago in horse riding, rowing and netball. Most recently, I have been involved with the rebuilding of the Oamaru Swim Club and am proud to have been a part of getting this club to where it is today.

Why I’m doing it: It is very exciting to be a part of this fantastic charity event. This is very much outside my comfort zone, though it’s always great to challenge yourself, or even scare yourself now and then. Helps keep yourself young! There is a lot more to boxing than I realised and I have enjoyed learning a new sport. I take my hat off to all involved in making this event happen and I’m looking forward to June 30.


Age: 47.

Occupation: Farmer at Duntroon, husband of Jan and father to Isabelle (17), Penny (14) and Imogen (13).

Most admired boxer: Don’t really have one, but I remember watching Roberto Duran as a youngster.

Geoff Keeling.

Sporting background: Grew up in the Horowhenua, and played rugby and tennis to age grade rep level. After university, came to Oamaru for a couple of years, playing rugby for Valley and “that” Ranfurly Shield challenge against Auckland. Finished any real sport in my late 20s.

Why I’m doing it: I started this boxing as a challenge, to step outside the comfort zone. We tell our kids to try new stuff and push yourself, because you don’t know what you can achieve until you try. So here I am. An added benefit is that it’s for a great cause. I feel it’s about “paying it forward”. I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension – not necessarily in that order.Running sport mediaNike