Extreme fisherman Matt Watson was inspired to take up boxing after being caught up in a shark feeding frenzy in Tahiti.
The star of the ITM Fishing Show is among Northland identities taking part in a charity boxing event where novice fighters will take some punches to raise money for cancer. Twenty men and four women will take to the ring for Fighting Cancer on September 22 in Kerikeri's Turner Centre.
Watson, who is better known for fighting marlin than humans, has been matched with builder Dale Hamlin of Whangarei in the second bout of the night.
The fishing guru said an experience in Tahiti's Shark Alley prompted him to take up boxing.
"I was in the water with a whole bunch of sharks, oceanic whalers and white-tips, when we kicked off a bit of a feeding frenzy ... me and the cameraman were back-to-back fending them off," Watson said.
Later they got to talking about whether they'd been scared, and what would really scare them.
"I said, 'Getting in the ring, that would scare me'. I think it's good for everyone to be scared, to get out of their comfort zone.''
Watson made up his mind to take up boxing. When he heard about the charity fight, he figured it was a chance to put what he'd learnt into practice.
He had been training for the past 18 months and was surprised by how much skill and thought boxing required. Those skills hadn't come on as fast as he had hoped, "so I'll be relying on a bit of mongrel on the night", he said.
The event is being organised by the Bay of Islands/Far North branch of the Certified Builders Association. Proceeds will go to the Kerikeri-based Pink and Steel Pilates Trust, which provides rehabilitation for patients recovering from cancer surgery.
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