Professional Boxing in NZ
Angove: Code-hoppers deserve our respect


CODE-HOPPERS: Anthony Mundine, Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper have all tried their hand at boxing.

OPINION: Code-hoppers like Sonny Bill Williams and Anthony Mundine draw the ire of the sporting community not because they have committed a great sacrilege against their beloved code, but because they have the talent and courage to break the mould.

When a successful athlete from one code shifts to another, there is a constant wail from blinkered wowsers, either that they've been betrayed or they are stealing the limelight from the hard grafters, those who have committed years of their life to a given sport.

But I have to ask: would those grafters ever have actually appeared on the big stage in the first place? Talent and ability to win will trump admirable but ultimately unspectacular grafters every time.

It may not be fair, but professional sport doesn't give out merit badges for participation.

We are in the midst of a fortnight where code-hoppers are receiving plenty of coverage so it seems apt to explore the core of why these super athletes are both loved and reviled in the same breath.

The divisive Anthony Mundine faces his final roll of the dice against Sergey Rabchenko in Brisbane on Wednesday, but love him or hate him, you can't deny he has always been a special athlete.

Just over a year after turning professional with no amateur background, "Choc" fought for a world title against a dominant, undefeated champion in his 11th fight.

Sven Ottke may have knocked him out, but "the man" went on to win the WBA super-middleweight and light-middleweight crowns, and the IBO middleweight strap, beating the likes of Antwun Echols, Danny Green, Sam Soliman and Bronco McKart on the way. You can't put together a record like that without x-factor in your make-up.

New Zealand's own Monty Betham - world junior karate champion, national rugby league captain and professional boxer, though not scaling the same heights as Mundine - also bears the same unwavering sense of self belief which saw him agree to fight Shane Cameron (a world class 29-fight veteran at the time) in just his sixth bout. Forgetting for a moment the 16oz. gloves and two-minute rounds, Betham's ability to survive and execute a well-constructed game plan after taking this bout on just two weeks notice was nothing short of impressive.

Sonny Bill Williams, of course, is the ultimate code-hopper, shifting from league to rugby to boxing, then back to rugby via league again. He's currently touring with the All Blacks as he tries to secure a place in the world cup squad, but after that, don't be surprised to see SBW back in the boxing ring.

No doubt he does have a padded record, but no more so than most 10-0 fighters looking to clamber over a few corpses and old men on the way up the food chain.

People complain about the exorbitant PPV charge to watch Sonny Bill fight, but we are an obsessed fan base in a country which would turn up to watch an All Black fart and have only ourselves to blame for succumbing to the undoubted star factor.
And, to be fair that complaint should really be directed at the constant dubiousness of matchmaking on undercards he appears on across the Tasman (not New Zealand where there is far better control), but that is a story for another day.

The truth is, in his last bout, for eight and half rounds of 10 against Francois Botha, he boxed well against an experienced and wily veteran. For a part timer, he was succeeding where really he had no right to do so. Surely this can only be a testament to his freakish athleticism and mental capacity to execute a game plan in the trenches. It is however a pity we haven't yet seen the result of him committing to the sport full time.

The addition of world-class kickboxing phenomenon, Israel Adesanya, to the upcoming SUPER 8 Last Man Standing tournament as the New Zealand wild card has similarly created huge consternation amongst the local boxing community, who felt the place should have gone to a committed local boxing tradesman. But lets face facts, this kid is a once in a generation fighter with a 42-win (22 KOs), 2-loss professional fight record at the highest level, a record only David Tua can match in terms of credibility.

Yes, the sports have different ranges, which the 25-year-old will need to adapt to, but take away the kicking and you are left with ... boxing. Last time I checked, the punches used are exactly the same.

What's more, the three-time kickboxing eight-man winner has plenty of experience in the three-round format, and the preternatural ability and confidence to pull it off. I'd go further and suggest there are several outspoken people in the boxing community who may have to quaff a few sour grapes come November 22nd.

Mohammed Ali once said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." I have to wonder if the reason these special athletes or "code-hoppers" garner so many haters is simply jealously.

Most of us don't have the talent, confidence or imagination to do what these special athletes can, and there is a small part of our psyche that hates that fact.

- Stuff
This bugger can write ah mate. A successful man Mike no matter what he does, a bit of the x. factor in his psyche for sure. He won a Wellington regional boxing title in his 1st fight, heavyweight to boot.
Trilogy planned for boxer David Aloua


DAVID ALOUA: May appear next on the Christchurch light-heavyweight Super8 card in March.

David Aloua will get his shot at revenge.

A trilogy battle between the wounded Kiwi cruiserweight and Australian brawler Anthony McCracken is just one of many intriguing match-ups being plotted for next year.

Sky Arena are still in discussions with David Tua, who has reiterated his intention to come out of retirement, and thrown up the possibility of pitting Kali Meehan against Joseph Parker.

McCracken pulled off a shock upset last weekend, stopping Aloua with three heavy shots in the seventh round to claim the WBA Pan Africa and WBO Asia Pacific titles.

A rematch clause was, however, included in the fight contract.

Aloua won their first clash by split decision in 2012 and a third, deciding bout holds obvious appeal.

"We do have rematch options over that. It's just a question of when," Sky Arena boss John McRae said.

"We'll probably look a tune-up fight before he takes on McCracken again. The first one was a split decision; that one was pretty definitive. Aloua wants the opportunity to prove to New Zealand and himself that he's got the goods and he's better than McCracken."

Following the defeat, it emerged Aloua's fiance was rushed to hospital three days before the McCracken fight with a suspected appendicitis.

He was also forced to prepare largely without highly-regarded striking coach Lolo Heimuli, who flew to Mexico to help UFC star Mark Hunt.

"If David is honest with himself the lead-up and camp wasn't ideal. Some of these circumstances may have led to that result but at the end of the day he didn't deliver."

A dispute involving fellow Australian Daniel Baff, who pulled out of fighting Aloua three weeks prior with a yet-to-be-proved medical excuse, remains unresolved and legal action is possible.

Aloua is due to be married in January and may appear next on the Christchurch light-heavyweight Super8 card in March.

Meehan is expected to claim at least a top 15 ranking with the WBA Pan African belt he captured after retiring Shane Cameron.

For now, his focus is preparing son Willis for his second pro fight on Daniel Geale's undercard in Sydney next week, but capitalising on Meehan's recent success is a priority.

"Prior to the Cameron fight he asked us to look at Shannon Briggs. That's a possibility. Personally I'd like to see a Parker fight, but whether that will take place I'm not too sure," McRae suggested.

"Everyone is going for the top spot. If Parker is in the way and he needs to get through him that's something I'd like to see. There's also a number of other opportunities. Duco have their own plans for Parker. We haven't had any discussions around that at this point."

McRae met Tua before returning to Sydney and the 42-year-old touted the prospect of taking on Chris Arreola (35-4) and Samuel Peters (35-5) in a comeback fight.

Tua needs to drop significant weight and regain fitness for that to be realistic, though.

"David is still keen to get back in the ring. It's just a question of timing. He's even thrown a few opponents at me. David knows he needs to send a message back to the New Zealand public.

"He owes it to himself and the New Zealand public that his next opponent is of international class and standing. He may revisit some of his past battles."

Sky are, meanwhile, attempting to lock in a regional title for hard-hitting Samoan cruiserweight Vatalie Soi, who lost the Super8 final to Australian Brad Pitt and got better as the night went on.

Soi holds a credible 24-1 record and lost 30 kilograms in four months leading up to the event.

There is also a strong possibility Lance Bryant, the Kiwi who many believe was robbed in his first-round match-up with Soi, will be offered a contract.

"I can see Lance as a regular name you'll see going forward."
Robert Berridge splits from promoter Duco Events


Last updated 13:48, December 21 2014Share

[Image: 1419122904606.jpg]Getty Images
New Zealand boxer Robert Berridge.

Robert Berridge's six-year contract with promoters Duco Events has been terminated after an alcohol-fuelled incident at the Fight for Life.
It is understood several complaints were made about New Zealand's leading light heavyweight boxer following the annual boxing event, which featured rugby and league stars and heavyweight prospect Joseph Parker, in Hamilton earlier this month.
Complaints are understood to include that Berridge was intoxicated in front of influential corporates and sponsors. In one exchange, he is also accused of aggressively abusing a female at the table.
Following the fallout, Duco is understood to have invited one couple to their inner-city offices in order to "smooth things over".
The company then severed ties with the boxer, despite almost four years remaining on their agreement.
Duco previously trumpeted Berridge's abilities as they sought to build his profile and standing, but now refuse to comment on the details, other than to confirm Berridge has, indeed, been let go. 
Berridge did not return calls from Rarotonga, where he was on holiday, and his long-term manager, Vasco Kovacevic, also declined to comment on the incident. 
"Rob has put a statement out. I don't think there's anything more to say," Kovacevic said.
"Rob has clarified it. He and Duco are splitting ways."
Berridge made a statement on Facebook.

"After an eventful 2014 the team and I have decided it is in our best interest to part ways with Duco events.
"Duco has played a massive part in my career to date however our paths are heading in different directions. Don't worry I am still in training and still hungry to fight, have my eyes set on the next Super8 event.
"There will of course with everything come speculation with this decision and appreciate everyone's continued support.
"For now I am soaking in family time in the beautiful Rarotonga with my lovely wife, after a hard year this is exactly what I need!
"Back in NZ 2015 to start a new year, fresh and strong and get the gym ready to rumble."
Splitting with Duco could be a major blow to Berridge's career.
The 30-year-old Auckland-based southpaw, who holds a credible 24-2 record, needs to rebound from a devastating fifth round TKO loss to undefeated Russian champion Vasily Lepikhim (17-0) last August, when he surrendered his WBO Oriental and PABA belts in his first appearance in the Unites States.
It now seems Berridge, a proven power puncher whose footwork and defence were exposed by Lepikhim, will fight next on Sky Arena's light heavyweight Super8 card, scheduled for Christchurch in March. 
 - Stuff
Oh well, next please
Its actually a shame Duco don't terminate there own contract and leave boxing.
(12-21-2014, 09:36 PM)craigyid14 Wrote: Its actually a shame Duco don't terminate there own contract and leave boxing.

hahhahah imagine that eh! too funny :-)
NZ Amateur Boxing Slammed:
(12-24-2014, 05:54 PM)diehard Wrote: NZ Amateur Boxing Slammed:

The only goal and game plan these guys need is to have their fighters fighting all over the world and make it look like you are as into boxing as you say you are :-)
Disgraced fighter Robbie Berridge on road to redemption


Regretful: Robert Berridge says he is working to save his marriage.

"I hate myself for what I've done," says top boxer Robert 'The Butcher' Berridge. "This is the pits. This is rock-bottom."

Six months ago, Berridge was New Zealand's highest-ranked boxer. Now, the only fight he's interested in is saving his marriage and his own emotional health.

Berridge is a fortnight into a family violence course after losing his promotional contract and almost his marriage after a drunken night at last December's Fight for Life.

Berridge says he blacked out and has almost no memory of the evening. He also admits to being abusive and aggressive towards the sister of fellow professional boxer Joe Blackbourne, and rude to other guests, and to attempting to leap from a car at 100kmh an hour and "lashing out" at Renee and his manager, Vasco Kovacevic.

Kovacevic left Berridge beside a field somewhere between Hamilton and Auckland and he had to walk and hitch-hike home.

Berridge says he rarely drinks - and has pledged to stay sober for the whole of 2015 - but made a bad decision to drink when invited to Fight for Life as a guest of his promoters, Duco Events. "But it's no excuse for anything I did. I fully regret having that first glass of wine."

Berridge says he was "rude and slightly aggressive" towards Blackbourne's sister after she overheard his conversation, and was loud and rude to others that evening. He intends to apologise.

On the way home, he decided to leap from Kovacevic's car at full speed as it drove north on State Highway One to Auckland. Kovacevic said he heard the door open and hit the brakes hard; Berridge jumped out and was "pretty much incoherent".

He then ran away up a hillside in a farm paddock. When his wife and manager tried to get him back to the car, he says: "I lashed out, and my wife was on the receiving end . . . she was all right, just shaken . . . it's pretty hard to talk about, eh." Kovacevic says Berridge flailed his arms wildly when they tried to put him back in the car, so they decided to leave him.

Berridge says he realised what he had done, and walked and hitch-hiked home, with his wife returning in the early hours to pick him up on the outskirts of the city.

He immediately looked up the government anti-violence It's Not Ok! website, found a Living without Violence course near his North Shore home and enrolled, having his first one-on-one session three days later. He is now on a 20-week course. Already it has taught him he has "a few issues".

He says he's lucky that his wife stood by him against her parents' advice and he has been working hard to regain their collective trust.

Shortly after the incident, Duco cancelled his contract, which still had four years to run: "Duco helped me out, I still respect them," says Berridge. "I am the one who messed up."

It leaves Berridge without a backer or any imminent fights. It seems likely he will pair up with Duco's rivals Sky Arena, but he and Kovacevic agree he's not mentally ready to return to the ring.

But first, he says, he has work to do. His wife didn't want him to go public, but he felt he needed to own up. "I want to apologise to my wife and family, to the people it has affected and to my supporters and fans," he said.

Kovacevic says he would have quit as Berridge's manager if he hadn't taken action. "He needed to explain his actions and the steps he's taking right now are, I believe, the correct steps."

Last year, Berridge was ranked number 10 light-heavyweight with the World Boxing Organisation, the best ranking of any Kiwi fighter, but his professional fight record of 23-1-1 was sullied by a fifth-round knockout by Russian Vasily Lepikhin in Pennsylvania in August.

- Stuff

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