Call to get in the ring

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Queenstowners are being asked to put their chins on the line at a knockout new event in this year’s Winter Festival. 

About 1000 fans are expected for the fun fight night – dubbed “Thriller in the Chiller” – where hardy locals will slug it out in a series of three-round boxing bouts.
 
A celebrity match between former Kiwi rugby league hero Tawera Nikau and TV2 Lotto presenter Russell Harrison has also been confirmed for the Events Centre spectacular on June 27.
 
The VIP pair met in the ring last August in Rotorua, with Nikau the victor.
 
“We’ll be staging between eight and 10 fights and want to hear from locals who want to take part,” festival boss Simon Green says. 

“I’d like to see matches like real estate guy versus real estate guy and a bout between a couple of tourism heavyweights.
 
“It would also be good to have a battle of the Basin, with representatives from the Wakatipu and Arrowtown rugby clubs.” 

Contenders will first be put through their paces at a month-long training and assessment course at Queenstown’s Fight Science gym – those chosen to box will attend a further 12-week boot camp.
 
The event will be under the control of the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association, with funds raised going to the Wakatipu-based Bruce Grant Youth Trust. 

“The match-ups have to be fair and will be managed very tightly so ideally we would like to hear from people with a bit of experience in the ring,” Green says.
 
“It’ll be great entertainment and one of the biggest events on the 2010 festival calendar.” 

Expressions of interest close at the end of the month. Anyone wanting to take part can call 441 2453 or email: simon@winterfestival.co.nz