Two of the key organisers of the Milligans Portside Punch believe the second edition of the charity boxing extravaganza may have been even better than the first.
Sally-Ann Donnelly was making everything hum behind the scenes at the former Te Pari building on Saturday night, while Wayne Fisher-Hewitt was ringside as 20 North Otago people had the most intense six minutes of their lives.
The fundraiser for three cancer charities attracted a sell-out crowd of 500, who donned their finest suits and dresses, tucked into a three-course meal, and enjoyed the 10 fights on the card.
It all culminated in a spectacular main event between heavyweights Jason Millns and Dylan Winter, the fight that was originally scheduled for the inaugural Portside Punch four years ago.
“I think it was an amazing night,” Mrs Donnelly said.
“The boxers were incredible. Their bravery in even getting in that ring – holy smoke, how do they do it?
“It was too much for me to watch, actually, because you get to know them and you don’t want to see them get hurt.
“The crowd was awesome. And I can’t thank all my friends who helped me out enough. We had amazing support from the community.”
Mrs Donnelly was confident the event would raise more than the $118,000 the inaugural Portside Punch cleared.
Will there be a third fight night in 2022?
“Ask me closer to the time, ha ha.
“I’m too tired to even think about doing it again just yet.”
Mr Fisher-Hewitt, who trained the boxers with son Jonathan and Damien Fraser, also felt the second Portside Punch might have trumped the first in a close decision.
He was delighted with the efforts of the boxers, who had prepared for three months for their debuts in the ring.
“In terms of the performance, the contenders – it was 10 out of 10 for me,” he said.
“We didn’t have a stoppage, we had 10 pretty good fights, and everyone entered into the spirit of the good cause. They left everything in the ring and they couldn’t have done any more.
“We were aiming for good, technical boxing – it’s not just hit and hope – and we got it as close to an amateur novice fight night as we could.”
The match-up between farmer Hayden Williams and chef Nick Raymond was Mr Fisher-Hewitt’s pick as the best technical fight, though he did ask Mr Williams where he found his uppercut technique.
As for the best overall fight, the boxing guru was with the majority of the supporters, who raised the roof during the main event.
“At 10 seconds, they gave a wink and then just threw the kitchen sink at each other.
“They put on a show, and it was a tremendously physical fight.”