Hamilton death a 'bloody tragedy' says boxing promoter Dean Lonergan

There's a call for charity boxing events to come under the same rules as the rest of boxing - and another for them to be banned - following the death of a man at a corporate event in Hamilton.

Neville Knight, 49, collapsed in the ring at the Young Guns 2 fundraiser at Te Rapa Racecourse in Hamilton last night.

Medical staff and his partner performed CPR on him at the scene but he could not be revived.

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Amateur International Boxing Association supervisor Keith Walker said charity events had fewer rules than either amateur, or professional boxing bouts.

He said the danger was that corporate boxers fell under the category of an amateur because they were not being paid.

If boxers who weren't professional were going to fight, there should be an age cap of 40 imposed at these events, Walker said.

He told Radio New Zealand he refused to be associated with such events and thought Boxing New Zealand should do the same.

"To my knowledge there is no actual rule that governs the sport of corporate boxing, which is a huge concern - and it has been a concern of mine for quite some time . . . boxing should not be used for corporate events for the sake of the boxers' safety - it's just not what boxing is about. Boxing is a skill sport," he told RNZ.

But at charity events it became about entertainment, Mr Walker said.

"It wrecks the image of our sport and I think Boxing New Zealand should separate itself from that."

Boxing NZ president Steve Mitchell agreed under the current circumstances a review of charity events could be in order.

Mitchell said a member of his executive member was travelling to Hamilton to support Nabbys Boxing Gym and another was working alongside the referees and judges who were present.

He said all the corporate boxers had a full medical certificate prior to fighting and on the day of the fight another check-up was undertaken by an onsite doctor.

Duco boxing promoter Dean Lonergan was not at the Hamilton event, but said Knight's death was "a bloody tragedy".

Although boxers often got injured during fights, it was unusual for them to die in the ring.

Lonergan was not aware of any other deaths like this in New Zealand, but mentioned an incident in Sydney last September when David Browne Junior, 28, was knocked unconscious during a boxing title fight at the Ingleburn RSL club and later died in hospital.

"This is a bloody tragedy. We never want to see this stuff happen," Lonergan said.

It was likely Knight and the other boxers were medically assessed before entering the ring, but Lonergan said he did not know what health and safety procedures Nabby's Boxing Gym had in place for the event.

Promoter Dion McNabney described the death as a tragedy. He told Fairfax Knight had passed his medical test yesterday morning and everything had been "done by the book".

"He was fit, he had legs on him like Arnold Schwarznegger. Honestly, he was in magnificent shape. He was one of the fittest men in the gym," he said.

"The amateur event I run is through Boxing New Zealand and IBA [International Boxing Association]- being an Olympic sport, everything has to be done by the book," McNabney said.

"You can have either a doctor or St John [at a boxing event], otherwise there is no tournament. We had a doctor."

- NZ Herald

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