Corporate boxing came to Tauranga in style on Saturday night with the inaugural Carrus Lord of the Ring charity challenge.
The black tie event went better than even the most optimistic of the organisers had hoped for, with plenty of entertainment keeping the vibrant crowd going all night and $69,215 was raised for the Waipuna Hospice in Tauranga.
The event featured 11 corporate fights of three two-minute rounds and one professional bout in which Tauranga's New Zealand Super Middleweight champion Gunnar Jackson had a rare appearance in front of his home crowd against South Auckland journeyman Moses Ioelu.
The who's who of the Bay turned up in their best frocks and suits. As well as the boxing, entertainment included local songstress Anna Hawkins, an all male dance group, Brokeback Mountain, a Neil Diamond impersonator and the bikini-clad scorecard holder.
Naming sponsor Scott Adams of Carrus Corporation, which owns the Lakes subdivision in Tauranga, told the Bay of Plenty Times that more than 1800 people attended the event, raising $69,215 for local charity Waipuna Hospice, a figure that is set to rise as the donations are added up.
"It has been a phenomenal success, thanks to the sacrifices of the brave boxers who got in the ring. It is fantastic to attract such a big Tauranga crowd, and I can see already that people would like it to be an annual event," said Mr Adams.
The night included a charity auction, with a package from John Key fetching $10,000, and a commissioned painting by Timo Ranalli pulling in $7000.
Trish Rae of Waipuna Hospice was thrilled at the generosity of the crowd.
"While the boxers are volunteers, our families are dealing with the fate dealt to them."
All the winners of the corporate fights raised an additional $1000 for their own chosen charity.
The event was promoted by Andy Martin of Uno magazine and Chris Walker of Tga Box.