Veteran Queenstown charity boxer says ‘Let’s get it on’

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The oldest competitor in Winter Festival’s upcoming charity boxing night is picking an even fight with his much younger opponent. 

Queenstown commercial property manager and investor Johnny ‘Roast of the Day’ Stevenson, 48, is taking on Bardeaux bar manager Paddy ‘Hurricane’ Kluts, 21, in Thriller in the Chiller this Saturday night. 

Stevenson, the only fighter over 40 years old, says he has no plans to play the age card no matter what happens on the night. 

“We’re both probably about the same fitness so it’ll come down to skill and will. But it’s a strange thing … the group has become quite tight, there’s really nice people in it. 

“Paddy seems a really good bugger. 

“He’s pretty together for a 21-year-old I’d have to say. I was certainly a lot worse than him. He’s got a really good approach. 

“But when the bell goes you just have to put that aside. It’s hit or be hit,” Stevenson says. 

The field’s veteran says he’s racked with thoughts that he hasn’t done enough – despite him and the other 21 fighters undergoing a gruelling three-month fitness and boxing skills regime. 

“I think you could train till the end of the year and still probably think that. A few of the others are going through a lot of imagining about what’s going to happen. 

“But I’m looking forward to it now – the only way to get through it is to do it so I’m keen for it to happen really. 

“It’ll be good. It’ll be a pretty even fight too.” 

Stevenson, a lefty, says his game plan is pretty vague. 

“That famous quote has been circulating – everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth. 

That’s the unknown quantity with everybody. I can’t pick any of the fights honestly. Some might keep it together, some might stick to training. 

“Obviously the sense of occasion influences a few people … there’s no way you can make any predictions. Things just go out the window.” 

The Thriller fighters, who are all putting their chins on the line for charity – this year it’s Coastguard Queens­town – are now in what Stevenson calls the tapering-off phase. 

“I think that’ll be my forte … tapering. I’m going to do really well at the tapering.”