Mealamu, Weepu on Fight for Life wish list

By Steve Deane

The weekend's show reached into the public's consciousness largely by pitting champion rower Eric Murray against league beast Manu Vatuvei. Photo / Getty Images
The weekend's show reached into the public's consciousness largely by pitting champion rower Eric Murray against league beast Manu Vatuvei. Photo / Getty Images

Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu, Todd Carney and Sam Burgess are some of the star rugby and league names who could step into the boxing ring when Fight For Life returns next year.

Promoter Dean Lonergan has confirmed the blend of sport, celebrity, charity and boxing will be back for its 10th incarnation in 12 months.

The weekend's show reached into the public's consciousness largely by pitting champion rower Eric Murray against league beast Manu Vatuvei.

While that fight may have been a bit of a dud - it certainly suffered in comparison to seeing the terror of Northland pub carparks Rene Ranger drop Aussie league hate figure Greg Bird - the payoff to the event's bottom line was in all likelihood substantial.

The Herald understands Saturday's event ranked in the top five of all time pay per view sales in this country - likely between 20,000 and 30,000 - meaning it will have turned a substantial profit for both promotions company Duco and Sky TV.

"Commercially it was definitely successful," Lonergan said. "It went as good as we could have hoped for. It is a bloody expensive gig to put on, but we went okay.

"Most importantly it was good to see the guys go out there and have a crack and we got through with no real injuries, only a few bruises and bruised egos."

Lonergan's deft promotional touch has helped keep an event that began in 2001 in the public eye.

He's paraded bikini-clad reality TV stars inside and outside the ring, talked Monty Betham out of retirement to face world title contender Shane Cameron in an exhibition match, and even allowed a "pudgy" rower - Murray - to do a Bear Grylls impersonation.

So what's next?

"I don't know," Lonergan said. "We haven't worked that one out. We'll have to get the envelope out and start working out what we are going to [do] on the back of it."

- NZ Herald

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