Train hard for a charity event

Let’s get ready to rumble. The 24 contenders in the Milligans Portside Punch charity boxing event train. Before the big night of June 30, Hayden Meikle learn more about some of these brave people. The photos are from Rachel Wybrow.


Age: 25 years old.

Occupation: Technical Field Representative for PGG Wrightson.

Most Admired Boxer: David Nyika.

Josh Dalziel.

Athletic Background: I play competitive hockey and tennis, both for North Otago. I like the team spirit in hockey, whereas tennis is such a mental game. You can also hit both balls as hard as you want and they won’t hit you back!

Why I do it: It’s something completely different for me. I haven’t played a full contact sport since high school, so the challenge is both scary and exciting. Sally-Ann and the Fisher-Hewitt family have done a fantastic job of organizing this event and raising so much money for such a great cause, so it’s an honor to be part of the event.


Age: 42 years old.

Profession: Electrician – owner of Plunket Electrical – and father of Kaylah (16), Kase (14) and Charlie (8).

Most Admired Boxer: Muhammad Ali.

Mark Rawson.

Sports experience: I am an avid hunter and spend as much time as possible hiking in the hills. Recently, I participated in the epic short-term Motutapu bike event and completed it in a respectable time frame.

Why I’m Doing It: It was great to see the success of the previous Portside Punch, and when the opportunity arose to help raise another significant amount of money, I jumped at the chance. Also, I like a good challenge, and avoiding getting continuously hit on the head, that’s most definitely it! A bonus is the camaraderie we have created with the Portside family. The support and encouragement from the other participants was particularly motivating. This is by far one of the scariest things I’ve done – go for it!


Age: 20! (Actually 39.)

Profession: Banking consultant at Westpac, partner of a builder and mother of Jaxson and Matai.

Most Admired Boxer: Manny Pacquiao.

Sonya McDonald.

Sports background: I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to practice many sports over the years. I have represented North Otago and Otago in equestrian, rowing and netball. More recently, I was involved in rebuilding the Oamaru Swim Club and am proud to have helped make this club what it is today.

Why I’m doing it: It’s very exciting to be part of this fantastic charity event. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, although it’s always good to challenge yourself, or even scare yourself once in a while. Help to stay young! There is a lot more to boxing than I thought and I enjoyed learning a new sport. I take my hat off to everyone involved in making this event happen and look forward to June 30th.

Geoff Keeling

Age: 47 years old.

Profession: Farmer in Duntroon, husband of Jan and father of Isabelle (17), Penny (14) and Imogen (13).

Most Admired Boxer: I don’t really have one, but I remember watching Roberto Duran when I was young.

Geoff Keeling.

Sporting background: Grew up in Horowhenua and played rugby and tennis up to age rep level. After college he came to Oamaru for a few years, playing rugby for Valley and ‘that’ Ranfurly Shield challenge against Auckland. I finished any real sport in my late 20s.

Why I do it: I started this boxing as a challenge, to get out of the comfort zone. We tell our kids to try new things and push yourself, because you don’t know what you can accomplish until you try. So here I am. An added bonus is that it’s for a good cause. I think it’s about “paying it forward”. I feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension – not necessarily in that order.Running sports mediaNike

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