Popular Hawke's Bay entertainer DJ Jayrasik, or Jay Bartlett to use his real name, is the first to admit his sporting pursuits have been limited.

"Back in my days at Mangateretere School my parents [Richard and Hera] used to struggle to get me to go and play rugby. Becoming a DJ was always my dream," Bartlett recalled.

However, when it comes to the Battle for Life charity boxing event Bartlett, 29, is prepared to make an exception. He will take on Manawatu's Ricki Le Mar-Walker when the ninth and first Hawke's Bay versus Manawatu edition of the Superloans-sponsored event is staged in the Hastings Sports Centre on Saturday night.

"I've had five years as the DJ for the event and this year I've decided to jump into the ring. The cause is pretty close to me," Bartlett said, referring to the fact the 13-bout event is a fundraiser for suicide prevention awareness.


"I remember growing up and not really having a clue about suicide. Then in 2003 I lost a close friend to suicide and I had bit more of an understanding. Not long after that I lost a relation to suicide and I realised how much of it is out there in the community."

A father of three, Bartlett pointed out his appearance in the ring has been four years in the making.

"At the last four Battle for Lifes Pat [promoter and trainer Patrick O'Brien] would suggest to me I would be fighting the following year. It has never happened until now.

"I got on the fitness buzz 18 months ago and I've been training specifically for this event since May," Bartlett said.

In addition to his DJ work Bartlett is also on an electrical course at EIT. It started in July and will end in April when Bartlett hopes to start a three-year electrical apprenticeship.

"It's all about balance," replied Bartlett when quizzed about his ability to juggle his study, training, entertaining and parenting commitments. Since May he has trained for an hour so six times a week with O'Brien and he has also put in a couple of his own gym sessions each week.

"We'll have to wait and see if I have the same co-ordination and rhythm in the ring as I do behind the turntables. But I'm happy with my power. It will be the first fight for Ricki and myself and I've seen one video clip of him training. He is the same weight as me but a lot taller," Bartlett explained as he pondered his bout, which is scheduled for three two-minute rounds.

"This is a one-off thing. Boxing isn't really me but I want to make the most of it for the cause," Bartlett stressed.


"I'm feeling good and pretty relaxed about it. If I can perform in front of 20,000 people at festivals as a DJ I can box in front of the 400 or so people who will turn up on Saturday night."

Bartlett won't be mixing DJ commitments with his fight on Saturday night.

"I've got a friend doing the DJ stuff so I can focus on my fight," he added.

O'Brien is thrilled with the progress Bartlett has made during training and has high hopes for him. He was equally delighted to bring the first Hawke's Bay versus Manawatu edition of Battle for Life.

"Each year we try to do something a little different and we're confident this inter-provincial rivalry will work with fans."

One of O'Brien's promising kickboxers, Jimmy Pentland, will take on Dannevirke's Tama Petera in the final bout of the night. One of the Aotea Sports Club's favourite sons, Petera is no stranger to turning on spectacular feats on the rugby field as well as in league circles for Dannevirke Tigers.

If he can replicate these high standards in the boxing ring the younger Pentland could be in for a tough night.

There will be plenty of interest in the form of one of the Bay's toughest female rugby players, Stacey Loye. She will take on Manawatu's Jenna Welsh.

THE CARD (HB names first):
Sophie England v Dani Sammons, Dylan Rosser v Adam Jones, Tonn Winiata v Karlena Newman, Jay Bartlett v Ricki Le Mar-Walker, Paraire King v Dan Billing, Alf Mohi v Gary Dell, Stacey Loye v Jenna Welsh, Ryan Van Zonneveld v Namen Rautu, Brad Warren v Finn Gallagher-Forbes, Summer Evans v Lana McCarthy, Wehi Morgan-Dunne v Blair Taylor, Lisa Ward v Sarah Buchanan, Jimmy Pentland v Tama Petera.