Boxing: Netballer to get in the ring

By Nick Tolerton of the Christchurch Star

Bessie Manu, the smiley face of netball, will turn savage on Friday night. Photo / Lightworkx Photography.
Bessie Manu, the smiley face of netball, will turn savage on Friday night. Photo / Lightworkx Photography.

Bessie Manu, the smiley face of netball, will turn savage on Friday night.

The Tactix netballer and her old teammate Charlotte Kight top the bill for the Fight for Christchurch, which has already raised $90,000 for charities.

Manu, who will be walked out for the fight by her brother Nasi Manu and his Canterbury rugby teammate Robbie Fruean, says she won't be holding back.

"It worried me at the beginning when I started sparring, but you can't afford to think of things like that," she said. "Like netball, when you're on the court you've got to do the job."

Coached by former kickboxing champ Wayne Vaega for the last 10 weeks, she's also been getting tips from her brother. "Everyone in rugby is an expert on boxing now," she quipped.

While Kight (now with the Mystics), who played alongside her at the Tactix and for New Zealand under-21, will have a definite reach advantage, Manu said they had a gameplan to cope with that.

"I definitely would like to win, but it will be quite a hard fight because I know what she's like and she trains really hard," said Manu.

She's also been back to netball training the last two weeks, and felt the boxing regime had done her good and made her more powerful and quicker.

Manu's charity is the Christchurch Earthquake Children's Trust.

Other bouts include former Black Cap Mark Greatbatch against local chef Phillip Kraal. The MCs are Brendon Pongia, Hayley Holt and Leigh Hart.

Organiser Justin Wallace said the Fight for Christchurch should have raised $100,000 by the end of the week, and he hopes it will raise as much as $150,000.

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