Boxing: Manu outguns Murray

By Steve Deane

Manu Vatuvei lands a blow against Eric Murray.  Photo / Getty Images
Manu Vatuvei lands a blow against Eric Murray. Photo / Getty Images

Rowing star Eric Murray will be heading back to his day job a little the worse for wear today after surviving three rounds in the boxing ring against Manu the Beast Vatuvei.

Murray deserves kudos for taking on the fearsome Vatuvei when no one in rugby's ranks put their hand up but his efforts won't exactly go down in the annals of great charity boxing bouts.

With Murray dutifully clutching his gloves to his face and dancing from side to side, it was more a case of run for your life than Fight for Life.

"That's really what we did in training," Murray said. "Look at my muscles. I don't have anything compared to that guy [Vatuvei]."

The rower did manage to land a couple of right-hand leads but the rest of the fight involved Vatuvei stalking his opponent and tatooing him with hefty blows.

With the contest not really capturing the imagination, about the best that can be said of it was that both contestants discovered a genuine appreciation for the rigours of the sport.

"It was fantastic learning the different skills in boxing. I take my hat off to them. Getting in there for three 12-minute rounds would be unbelievable."

The rest of the charity card featured some genuine blood and thunder contests.

New South Wales captain Paul Gallen displayed a good degree of skill to go with his legendary toughness to score a unanimous victory over All Black hooker Hika Elliot.

Gallen's Kangaroo team-mate Greg Bird claimed a controversial victory over Rene Ranger, thanks mainly to a two-point deduction imposed on the Northland rugby star for punching Bird on the break.

The looping right hand unsettled Bird, who showed plenty of courage to box on. Ranger also put Bird down again in the final round with a chopping left but it wasn't enough to overcome the deduction and Bird's strong opening round.

Daniella Smith scored a unanimous six round victory over Lauren Eagle in the opening fight of the night. Eagle, a former champion waterskier, model and the girlfriend of league bad boy Todd Carney, was technically impressive but Smith's superior power proved decisive.

- Herald on Sunday

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