Extraordinary night of boxing in Amberley

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Boxing lesson . . . Bo-Dean Blackburn (Leithfield Boxing Club) reasserts her authority over her southern opponent Asya Schmidt (Queens), during her bout. PHOTO: KATRINA PARISH, SHOT FROM THE HEART

By Robyn Bristow

The Amberley Lions Club in conjunction with the Leithfield Boxing Club’s event saw 19 bouts of “extraordinary” boxing with a feature bout between Liam McKinstry of the Amberley Rugby Club, sponsored by Lou Wineberg and Simon Page from the Glenmark-Cheviot Rugby Club, sponsored by Keane Builders, bringing the crowd to their feet.

Bob Halliday of the Leithfield Boxing Club, who had trained the two rugby players, says neither “held back”.

“It was a close contest with Page only taking out the bout by a point, it was that close. It was a stunning contest,” he says.

Local Leithfield boxer, Bo-Dean Blackburn starred in a return bout against Asya Schmidt, an opponent she had beaten for the elite grade title at the Southland Boxing Association’s competition in Invercargill recently.

Coach Bob Halliday says the rematch promised to be a hard fought affair with Asya keen to get “payback”.

But Bo-Dean “gave her a boxing lesson”, says Bob, to win all three rounds of the bout and take out the Kevin Barry Memorial Trophy, a “monstrous” trophy made possible through the generosity of the Kevin Barry Foundation.

The Jack Grant Challenge Belt contest proved interesting with the belt changing hands. Mark Pullan from Burnham is now the holder of the belt after beating Dan Williams-Morriss from Christchurch Club, Smiling Tigers.

“Most contests were extraordinary,” says Bob who believes a re-run in a couple of years would be great.

Lions president James Drewery says it was a really successful evening and everyone was keen to run the event again some time in the future.

“The strong message was it was successful with everybody thoroughly enjoying themselves,” he says.

Lion Sam King had provided a spectacular lighting and sound display for the full house and although there was a hiccup with the catering everyone enjoyed a great evening.

Funds raised will be shared between the Amberley Lions Club, for projects to benefit youth and the Leithfield Boxing Club for equipment and development of the sport, particularly for youth.