A Queenstown-based boxer admits to nerves but no fear before taking on the top-ranked New Zealand welterweight this weekend.
The Czech Republic’s Martin Mech, training under Queenstown Boxing Gym owner Darryl Giddens, fights the reigning NZ champ Bowen Morgan in Dunedin on Saturday night.
“I’m not afraid – I fought a guy back in Czech who was the best of the welterweights,” Mech says.
“I’m ready, I train almost every day. But I’m quite nervous – it’s my first fight in NZ and it’s against the NZ champ.”
Mech, who arrived in Queenstown in November, has had two previously scheduled bouts cancelled.
“Nobody wants to fight me. It’s difficult to find someone because the guys don’t know me.”
His match-up against Morgan is the headline bout at the Otago Champs in Mosgiel, Dunedin. It is scheduled for three rounds lasting three minutes each.
Giddens says Mech, dubbed ‘Machine’, has a good chance of winning.
“Martin’s fit and strong and I’ve got full confidence he will go good in this fight.”
Mech, 29, says he started boxing eight years ago in his homeland after he and some friends were randomly attacked by a group of drunken men.
A friend’s girlfriend had a tooth knocked out and Mech was knocked to the ground, hitting his head.
Mech says he can’t remember much about it but he ended up in hospital for tests and says luckily he suffered no permanent injuries.
“I wanted to be ready next time because it was a terrifying experience. I started boxing immediately afterwards.
“I didn’t like boxing before that. I didn’t understand it and just thought it was punching and hurting guys. But it’s very good for the body – you have to use all the muscles and it’s one of the best sports for fitness.”
Mech is now the co-owner of the Poruba Boxing Club in his hometown Ostrava.
He’s also helping Giddens train the 22 Wakatipu contenders for Winter Festival’s charity fight night Thriller in the Chiller.