Stand-in steps up against ‘machine’

It's on: Alice Kelly, left, will now face Danielle Sherman in the ring

A last-minute decision has left two wannabe Queenstown boxers thrilled.

Danielle Sherman thought her gloves were off after injury forced her opponent, Megan Mathews, to withdraw from next weekend’s Thriller charity boxing event.

However, the bout’s back on, with local marketing coordinator Alice Kelly stepping into the ring.

Kelly was part of the initial boot-camp, but failed to get a fight due to weight matches and her strong technical ability.

After reading Sherman’s plight in last week’s Mountain Scene,she contacted organiser Simon Green.

While admitting he and coach Steve Orr thought about her as a proxy, they considered it too late to ask.

After a training session, where she also watched Sherman sparring, Green gave the go-ahead.

“The reason she [Kelly] didn’t get a fight initially was because technically she was more advanced than the rest of the girls in the camp,” Green says.

“She has also lost a bit of weight since then. Now the focus is getting her back up to boxing fit and more comfortable in that sparring environment – that is what she has missed out on in the last few weeks.”

As well as group training, Kelly will have one-on-one sessions with Orr.

She isn’t underestimating the challenge and describes experienced CrossFit athlete Sherman as a “machine”.

Her only aim is to get through the fight night without losing too many teeth or getting a broken nose.

She marries other half Bradley Cross early next year and a wonky nose isn’t the look she’s going for.

Kelly: “I’m confident in my fitness but need to get my head back in the game and around getting punched in the face.

“The next couple of weeks will be pretty full-on. I guess my determination and grit mean I won’t want to give up.”

The rescheduled fight was a “huge surprise and very unexpected” for Canadian Sherman.

She didn’t stop training and is delighted the bout is back on.

Her biggest concern is for Kelly; worried she would feel underprepared.

“I wanted to make sure she knew what she was getting into, to make sure she understood the intensity of the training and where we were currently at.”

November 26, Queenstown Events Centre