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Men, and boys too, box for different reasons, including self-defence, physical fitness, release of energy and sometimes anger, and of course, the lure of prize money and fame.
The boxing marathon (‘boxathon’) last Sunday, November 20 at the Holy Trinity Boxing Gym in Dulwich Hill, an innerwest suburb in Sydney, however, is an exception.
There was money for sure in the ‘boxathon’ but it was an event to raise $2,000 for the gym to help street kids and young people who get into trouble.
The boxing extravaganza was ‘hosted’ by Anglican priest Father Dave Smith, a professional boxer, and welfare worker of the church across the gym.
Father Dave committed to box 60 continuous rounds against all comers, with a one-minute rest between rounds.
Donors came to either box a round or two against Father Dave or to simply put their money down for the gym.
Filipino Press Group of Sydney convenor Jimmy Pimentel, 77, an amateur boxing champion in his college days and a supporter of local Filipino boxers, was one of those who traded blows with Father Dave for one three-minute round – and for a cause.
Asked how he would describe his match with Father Dave, Jimmy said: “Although Father Dave is a long-time friend, our one rounder was not a dance routine at all.”
“Father Dave was on his 30th round when I stepped in the ring. It was not a soft round at all. We had pretty good shots to the head and the body. Father Dave found my mid-section more often than not, but I knew he didn’t go full throttle with me otherwise I would have hit the canvass many times. He also knew that I would have difficulty completing the three-minute round, so he asked me during a clinch if I wanted to cut the round short: ‘You wanna stop now?’, he whispered. But I said to him: ‘I’ve got a bit more left. Let’s finish this.’ When the bell rang, my tongue was hanging out like mad and I quickly took my headgear off so I could breathe better.”
Jimmy’s son, Mike, a big fan of Father Dave, also climbed onto the ring for two rounds – exchanging good shots to the body and head with gusto.
Will Jimmy step in the ring again with Father Dave or with other boxers?
“For the money, yes,” Jimmy said with a smile, adding: “I boxed for money and earned $30 for our boxing gym. That makes me a pro, doesn’t it? Just kidding. And the money went to a good cause: keeping afloat a boxing gym for street kids.”