Cameron blown away’, keen to return next year

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Winter Festival’s charity fight night bosses say the fourth instalment impressed pro Shane Cameron so much he wants to return.

Fighters in last Saturday’s Thriller in the Chiller, sponsored by Allied Press-owned Mountain Scene, put on some of the gutsiest displays in its short history.

MC Howard Dobson, ex-presenter of TV3’s Sports Tonight show, says bout five between Russell Hall and Adam Smart is one of the best corporate fights he’s seen. Meanwhile, the final contest – between heavyweights Geoff Chapman and Henry Youngman – saw both fighters virtually legless with 30 seconds to go but still throwing punches.

Volunteer trainer Steve Orr says people asked why Chapman was the only fighter he hugged at the final bell: “I didn’t hug him, I caught him,” Orr explains.

Orr: “Those guys in that last bout put in the most heart I’ve ever seen not just in boxing, but sport. Even Cameron was blown away.”

Thriller boss Simon Green says Cameron, who hosted some training and was guest of honour, wants to return.

“He was buzzing about it. He wants to come back next year, do another training session and potentially a fight of his own here.”

Green says this year’s training focused more heavily on boxing fitness and sparring, which may have been responsible for the great results: “We pushed this group harder than any other, past breaking point. I think it had a huge impact.

“For me it was the best yet. Technically, we’ve probably had some better fights but not right across the board like that. There was intensity in all the fights and pure grit and determination in every bout.”

Green says fundraising is on track to pass $25,000 for the Branches Charitable Trust behind Wakatipu High school camps.

Thriller itself chipped in $3900, an auction by Hoamz’ Brendan Quill raised $20,000 and a silent auction tally is still to come.