ORGANISERS are hoping a kickboxing tournament being held in Invercargill next month will raise the sport’s profile.
The event, to be held at ILT Stadium Southland, is for South Island fighters aged 16 years and over, from novice to professional level.
“We want to lift kick-boxing out of the thuggery [often associated with it],” Pete Thompson, of Invercargill’s Toa Fighting Systems, said.
“We want to promote the professionalism given to World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) recently when it was recognised as an associate member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.”
Fourteen fighters, including five females, from Toa Fighting Systems, had signed up to compete.
Thompson said he and his wife Saniya were organising the WAKO-sanctioned tournament as a way to give Southland fighters more exposure to competition.
“Southland fighters are not getting the experience they needed.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for them so they could compete in front of an audience and experience the pressures associated with that.”
Previous grassroots tournaments held in Invercargill had proven there was demand from fighters wanting to compete and from people wanting to watch, he said.
“Twenty fighters showed up and 100 people showed up to watch without the event being advertised and we realised we need to run something slightly grander, which is why we are doing this at the stadium.”
Thompson said the audience could expect to see a “true expression of athleticism”.
“Everyone knows how tough boxing is, but kick-boxing, in my opinion, takes it to the next level.”
The half-time entertainment would be provided by dancers from South Pole Dance.
If the tournament proved successful, the pair hoped it would become an annual or biannual event and include South Island and national titles, Thompson said.
The organisers were looking for businesses and groups interested in sponsoring the fighters, he said. Sponsors would be given ringside seats and have their business promoted on the night. If anyone was interested, phone Pete on 027 296 0283.
Knockout South, ILT Stadium Southland, November 19, doors open 6.30pm, fights start 7pm. Tickets $25 adult.