An Auckland boxing trainer whose corporate fighter was hospitalised with a serious concussion has been caught in a backroom interview the day before the bout saying he personally puts "very little effort" into training such novice fighters.
Isaac Peach is the owner of West Auckland boxing gym Peach Boxing and oversaw the training of 12 first-time boxers involved in the August 25 Trading Punches fight night at ABA Stadium - an event Peach also organised.
On that night, 36-year-old Joel Rea, who had an undisclosed past brain injury, was badly knocked out eight seconds into his heavyweight bout, spent minutes unconscious, and was hospitalised for several days.
"I'm not excited for corporate boxing whatsoever," Peach said prior to the event on August 24.
"I train 90 per cent of the corporates to try and make them close fights, and they get their moment I guess, and they serve a purpose.
"They sell events for us, it's wonderful that they can because people don't appreciate boxing really in this country so pros aren't really going to sell and everyone wants to see their mate have their first fight.
"I don't put any effort, very little effort, into them to be honest. They do a lot of bag work.
"They spar the guy they're going to fight basically. But when it comes to hand pads and actually teaching them to fight I don't put a lot of effort in."
Peach insists his comments were taken completely out of context, and he meant he personally does not train the corporate fighters — but they are still properly trained.
"It's not that they get untrained, absolute bollocks," Peach told the Herald on Sunday last week.
"I have top boxers in my gym and they're a full-time job for me and everything is done 100 per cent above board. That's me personally. Personally, all I do is supervise. I've got four guys who train them and they're all qualified boxers and trainers. But all my efforts go into my pros.
"They asked me if I gave a s*** about corporate boxing, I don't, I hate it.
"I'm not doing it anymore and it's not that they don't get trained, it's that my personal time doesn't get wasted doing all corporate boxing."
The safety standards in place for corporate boxing events across New Zealand have come under scrutiny in the past month, with three Auckland gyms, including Peach Boxing, ditching the money-making events following serious injuries.
Joel Rea has been off work since the injury he sustained on August 25, for which he spent days in Auckland City Hospital undergoing CT scans to check for bleeding on the brain. He is seeing a concussion therapist to assess the extent of his injury.
Rea claims he was only trained for five weeks leading into the fight, but Peach disputes it was for the standard 12 weeks.
Many experienced boxing coaches across New Zealand have responded to the spate of corporate knock outs with dismay.
Boxing NZ chairman Keith Walker said corporate events run through his boxing association have not had a knock out in a very long time, and headgear should always be enforced.
"When I hear the circumstances of these events, I hear such horrific stories so all I can say is they're not properly governed," Walker said.
Auckland's Boxing Central owner Dean Evans also ditched their corporate events this week.
"As time has gone on, [corporate] fighters are getting trained by people who don't really know anything about the sport," Evans said.
"In a matter of 12 weeks you can never learn everything about boxing. It's called a sweet science for a reason."
Former world heavyweight champ Joseph Parker also weighed into the debate as he touched down in Whanganui this week.
"Listen, it's their decision," Parker said of the clubs stopping corporate events.
"I mean, every sport you can get injured.
"But boxing, it's a sport that if you get really injured, like for example the fight that we saw [Joel Rea's], that the guy got really injured, so it's one of those things that safety's first.
"If you feel like you're not up for the challenge or up for getting punched, there's a lot of things that can happen in boxing."