Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Butcher out to settle score

Berridge determined to knock out Foley in rematch two years after controversial draw.

Robbie Berridge's impressive record includes a brutal win against Argentine Mariano Jose Riva. Photo / Dean Purcell
Robbie Berridge's impressive record includes a brutal win against Argentine Mariano Jose Riva. Photo / Dean Purcell

One of the main challenges Robbie Berridge faces ahead of his light heavyweight fight against Australian Kerry Foley in Sydney in a fortnight could be keeping a cool head.

More than two years on from their last bout, Aucklander Berridge, nicknamed The Butcher, still harbours feelings of anger and frustration.

That fight, also in Sydney, which Berridge agreed to take on at late notice, finished in a controversial draw, with the 29-year-old and his trainer Vasco Kovacevic detailing their concerns at the press conference yesterday about Foley's weight in the lead-up.

They maintain Foley was almost 2kg over the 82kg limit and was given an easy time by referee Anthony Shipley. Foley was knocked down twice, though one was ruled "a slip".

The Australian laughed off what he called "conspiracy theories".

Berridge, though, wasn't in the mood for jokes. He lobbed a few personal insults Foley's way and said he was determined to take the referee - who is yet to be confirmed - out of the equation on February 19.

Dubbed "Unfinished Business", this fight, on the undercard of the Daniel Geale v Garth Wood main event, is personal for Berridge which could be a good and a bad thing.

Berridge joined Duco's stable last year, with promoter Dean Lonergan confirming that he had big plans for him, including a possible world title fight in 12 months or so. A slip-up could quickly change things.

"I want to turn this draw into a win," Berridge said of the Foley rematch.

"I should've won but was robbed by the Australian judges. "This fight will not go to the judges."

Kovacevic added: "Australian and New Zealand fighters have plenty of respect for each other. But no Kiwi wants to leave a decision to Australian judges."

Both boxers are predicting a stoppage in the fight, scheduled for 12 rounds, in which Berridge's Pan Asian title belt is up for grabs.

Berridge has an impressive 22-win, 1-draw, 1-loss record (18 knockouts) - including recent bloody victories over Argentine Mariano Jose Riva and fellow New Zealander Daniel MacKinnon.

His victory over MacKinnon, on the undercard of the David Tua v Alexander Ustinov fight in Hamilton in November, came at a cost, his opponent needing surgery after suffering a brain bleed thought to be caused by a head clash.

Berridge, who paid credit to MacKinnon's toughness last year, said he couldn't afford to think about that fight or the risks he faced.

The 26-year-old Foley is also a brutally effective boxer. He is unbeaten in 14 fights, with 12 knockouts. He is returning to the sport after dabbling in cage fighting in which he also enjoyed success - three fights for three knockout victories.

He said he was a better fighter than two years ago, saying being forced to lose a very large amount of weight - 10kg - in a short time left him weak.

New South Wales and Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen, an impressive winner of two Fight for Life events against Hika Elliot and Liam Messam, is expected to make his professional debut on the undercard.


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