Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Corporate boxing night draws women fighters

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ENTERTAINING: "Merciless" Kevin Mueck, left, and Nate "the basher" Birch in action during Clash of the Corporates 4 boxing night in May. PHOTO/File
ENTERTAINING: "Merciless" Kevin Mueck, left, and Nate "the basher" Birch in action during Clash of the Corporates 4 boxing night in May. PHOTO/File

Boxing continues to grow at a rapid rate, particularly among young women looking for new ways to get fit.

Fitness gyms across New Zealand are full of women putting on boxing gloves and hitting bags with many taking the next step and climbing into the ring at one of the many corporate boxing nights.

In Tauranga the Clash of the Corporates fight nights have proved to be hugely popular and tonight the fifth version will roar into life at QEII Stadium, Memorial Park from 6pm.

Six of the 14 amateur bouts to be staged over three, two-minute rounds are between female fighters who, along with the rest of the budding Joseph Parkers on display, have been training hard at Tga Box Health and Fitness for their moment of fame.

Tga Box owner Chris Walker says more and more women are getting involved.

"If you look at 10 years ago women didn't want to get involved but they are now. It is a challenge, it takes them out of their comfort zone, is something different and they love the training towards it.

"They have three, two-minute rounds in the ring with a similar, even-matched opponent and it gives them the opportunity to get out there and challenge their fears and do battle you could say."

Walker says he is not surprised at how successful the corporate boxing nights have become.

"We knew it would go well as it seemed to be a nationwide scene. There are corporate boxing nights in the majority of towns and cities in New Zealand and it seems to be growing.

"We are very happy with how it has ticked along. We have also done 10 smaller shows along the same lines as the corporate nights so it is just a matter of taking it up another level each time."

Each of the 28 amateur boxers fighting tonight have undergone an intensive training regime to get ready for their bout.

"We run a boot camp for between six and eight weeks, and some do a wee bit longer and get some one-on-one stuff with their trainers," Walker said.

The main bout of the night is a professional clash between Tauranga boxer Jonathan Taylor against Sika Ulanga from Auckland.

Both fighters have limited professional experience but excellent amateur records and are renowned as hard punchers.

The fight is important preparation ahead of a potential game-changer for Taylor on November 12 when he takes on the experienced Jordan Tai in Auckland for the NZPBA Super Middleweight and IBO Super Middleweight belts.

Walker trains Taylor and says Ulanga is not someone you want to take lightly.

"He has a decent amateur background and he is a lot better than his record suggests. He is pretty handy.

"If [Taylor] can get through this one he has that big fight against Jordan Tai for the belts that will be televised so there is a lot incentive for him.

"He is underestimated and has a very hard punch. If he lands he does some serious damage. It is just a matter of getting him to box first."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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