The best charity boxing card ever seen in Australasia has been assembled. This highly anticipated league vs rugby showdown on December 3 will be hosted at the Trusts Stadium Arena in Waitakere.
New Zealand’s landmark charity boxing event ‘Woodstock Reserve Fight For Life’ is back after a four year hiatus.
David Higgins and Dean Lonergan – the duo behind Mammoth Events – have assembled the best charity boxing card ever seen in Australasia. This highly anticipated league vs rugby showdown on December 3 will be hosted at the Trusts Stadium Arena in Waitakere.
After months of negotiations Mammoth Events has revealed the 15 man code will be led by the iconic All Black great Jonah Lomu while double Kangaroo and Wallabies international Wendell Sailor will lead the league team.
The other rugby combatants include current All Black Liam Messam, former All Blacks Troy Flavell, Carlos Spencer, Christian Cullen and former Maori All Black Slade McFarland while former Kiwis Monty Betham Jnr, Awen Guttenbeil, Joe Vagana and Jerry Seuseu are joined by 2008 World Cup winner Issac Luke in the league team.
“I can’t wait to get it on,” said Lomu – the 63 test All Blacks legend who set both the 1995 and 1999 Rugby World Cups alight with his devastating performances.
“My whole life I have always wanted to challenge myself.
“When I was a boy I wanted to be the best league player I could be. Then rugby came into my life and I wanted to be the best at that.
“More recently I’ve done a bit of body building and the discipline it takes to do that has been the perfect stepping stone for me to get into boxing.
“I’m training really hard, I’m focussed and ready to compete seriously in my first ever fight. I respect Sonny Bill Williams, but I’d happily step in the ring with him.”
Wendell Sailor – the Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Origin great – can't wait to lead the league team into action.
"I've played both codes so I think I am in a pretty good position to judge," Sailor said.
"I think the league boys will win this contest.
"The rugby boys will talk themselves up but, hey, with The Dell opting to represent for rugby league, we're already up a fight."
Sailor has some previous boxing experience having beaten Channel Nine Today host Karl Stefanovic in 2009.
"Obviously this time I will be between the ropes with another athlete - it will be a totally different proposition," Sailor said.
"I'm training the house down at the moment and will be top shape by the time of my fight.
"I'm hoping I might be matched against an All Black forward. There'd be nothing better than a back like me proving once and for all that even though us wings are pretty, we're tougher than the boys up front."
Having two current internationals – Liam Messam and Isaac Luke – on the card is a coup for Mammoth Events as is the acquisition of Spencer and Betham.
Spencer – an All Black between 1995 and 2004 – was a trailblazer for rugby in its then early days of professionalism as he became one of the most popular ‘brands’ in New Zealand.
And Betham, a centurion with the Warriors, will be making his return to the ring after a five fight unbeaten pro career following his days in rugby league.
But perhaps the loudest cheers on the night will be reserved for Cullen - the greatest fullback in All Blacks history.
He retired from All Blacks duty in 2003 as the then leading test try-scorer with 46 touchdowns from 56 tests.
After ending his career in Ireland with European champions Munster, Cullen has kept a low profile since returning to New Zealand but that is all about to change with his appearance in the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life.
"I can't wait to get into the boxing ring and have a crack," Cullen said.
"Like most of the boys I've done a fair amount of boxing drills over the years as a part of my training - and I've enjoyed that.
"I know there is a massive difference between hitting a bag and getting into the ring but I'm up for the challenge.
"This has given me a real focus to get fit again, which is great, and obviously the chance to put a spotlight on prostate cancer is another draw for me.
"I think as former athletes we have a responsibility to help out worthy charities when we can so it made sense for me to get involved with Mammoth Events and the boys."
A trophy is currently being made for the combatants of the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life to compete for.
Mr Lonergan – a former Kiwi himself – has no doubts as to which code will walk away from the December 3 event victorious.
“Look, rugby league has been professional for more than 100 years,” he said.
“The rugby boys have only been at it for 16 years – that’s hardly a great tradition for them to call on...
“Historically, in these types of events, the league boys thump the rugby boys and I see no reason why that would change this time around.
“I have to be honest and say, I actually think we’ll smash them.”
Mr Higgins said the response from the athletes to being involved in the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life had been inspiring.
“They have all embraced the event as both a sporting contest and, of course, for its charity aspect.
“I know that they are all training the house down to be ready to put on a fight night that will be of an exceptional standard.
“And at the same time they have made it known that they want to do everything they can in the meantime to promote men’s health through our charity partner, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.”
“It takes a certain amount of courage to step in the ring and lay it all on the line.
“The punters will recognise that and hopefully that will inspire them to go and get their checkups.”
Mammoth Events’ goal for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand is to maximise its brand awareness through the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life.
A clear and transparent funding plan – the venture is to be underwritten by Mammoth Events Ltd.
“Mammoth Events will be paying all the costs related to this event with no costs what-so-ever to the charity. Mammoth Events will keep all commercial revenue, ticket sales, sponsorship and broadcast revenue in order to cover the high costs to produce the event and provide a profit margin in return for the risk,” says Mr Higgins. “Our goal for Prostate Cancer Foundation is to raise awareness through millions of dollars worth of publicity and we expect to raise $100,000 for the charity through fundraising activities.”
“This is a remarkable opportunity for us,” the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand CEO Keith Beck said.
“We’re thrilled to have this relationship with Dean Lonergan and David Higgins and, of course, all of the athletes taking part.
“Our goal is to make sure as many men as possible are inspired by what they see at the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life to go and get tested. Many people don’t realise that over 600 men a year die from prostate cancer.”
“Many men think you need to have a physical examination to test for Prostate Cancer where the reality is the initial test can be a simple blood test.”
Mr Beck said the goal of the Prostate Cancer Foundation is to massively increase awareness and motivate men to get tested through this awareness.
“Our number one goal is to raise awareness through publicity. Woodstock Reserve Fight For Life can generate millions of dollars in publicity for us. The profile is invaluable to our cause and our message to men to get checked out.”
“And Mammoth Events’ undertaking that 100% of all net fundraising profits will come to us is something that will help us continue to spread the message well into 2012 and beyond.”
“This event would not be possible without the phenomenal naming sponsor Woodstock Reserve with support from Kiwi Bacon 100% New Zealand Farmed.”
The Fight For Life extravaganza will be the pre-Christmas event on the New Zealand calendar. With the Rugby World Cup and the Kiwis’ tour to the UK complete, Kiwi sports fans will be looking for a quality sporting occasion and the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life will be the perfect way for New Zealanders to see in the festive season.
Like all of the previous events put on by Mammoth Events’ directors – Mr Longeran’s previous charity boxing events and Mr Higgins’ Duco Events backed Fight of the Century (David Tua v Shane Cameron), International Rugby Dinners (David Kirk, Bobby Skinstad, John Eales and Will Greenwood) and speaking events hosting the likes of Sir Bob Geldof, RF Kennedy Jnr, HRH Prince Andrew and the upcoming visit of Sir Richard Branson - the Woodstock Reserve Fight for Life will accommodate for the corporates as well as genuine fight fans.
Details of corporate table deals, the on-night charity auction, celebrity weigh-in events, general admission details and a television deal will be announced over the next few weeks.
Who is behind Fight for Life?
EVENT PROMOTER: MAMMOTH EVENTS
The “promoter” of Fight for Life, Mammoth Events, is a joint venture between Dean Lonergan and David Higgins. Mammoth Events is financially underwriting Fight for Life and paying for the multi-million dollar expense of staging the event. In consideration for the risk, effort and expense, Mammoth Events will retain commercial revenue, including ticket sales, sponsorships and broadcast fees, and will retain any profits after all expenses are paid, with the exception of net fund raising proceeds which will accrue 100% to the charity recipient.
CHARITY RECIPIENT: THE PROSTATE CANCER FOUNDATION
As “charity recipient” for Fight for Life, the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s objective is to raise awareness of the need for men to be tested for prostate cancer. In line with this objective, Fight for Life is expected to generate publicity for the Prostate Cancer Foundation valued at several million dollars. Further, the Prostate Cancer Foundation is expected to receive over $100,000 cash from Fight for Life including 100% of net fund raising proceeds derived from auctions, pledge draws, raffles and donations.
PROSTATE CANCER FOUNDATION:
Prostate Cancer Facts:
• Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men. 1 in every 10 New Zealand men will get prostate cancer in their life time.
• Over 2,900 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.
• 670 of our men are dying each year. The comparable disease in women, breast cancer, tragically claims 624 women a year.
• Shockingly, Maori and Pacific Island men have the highest mortality rate of
any ethnicity in New Zealand and higher also than the mortality rates of any
indigenous peoples in the world.
• The good news is at least half of the annual deaths from prostate cancer could
be prevented by early detection.
What can you do to save yourself from prostate cancer?
• From age 40 onwards begin a PSA blood test.
• If you have a family history of prostate cancer in particular, you should start
getting the PSA check annually from age 40.
• Make healthy lifestyle choices like reducing alcohol intake, eating a balanced diet
and keeping up a fitness routine.
• Eat Foods such as cooked tomatoes, cranberries and pomegranates. They
contain an antioxidant called lycopene that research shows may be beneficial for