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As it happened - Woodstock Honey Fight for Life

By Grant Chapman

Published: 5:56PM Saturday December 15, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

Follow the live action as rugby takes on league - sort of - in a clash of the codes at Trusts Stadium, Waitakere.

FIGHT SEVEN - JOSEPH PARKER (105KG) V RICHARD TUTAKI (110.5KG)

Result - Parker wins with a third-round knockout.

A proficient performance from the young professional. Parker showed his class and dealt with this opponent as he should have.

Tutaki was never in the same class and at least stood long enough for Parker to display the goods.

Round Three

Tutaki switches to a right-hand lead and looks better for a few seconds. But Parker is unphased and puts him down with a left uppercut.

That's it. Thank goodness, it was getting ugly.

Round Two

More of the same. Parker is just laying into Tutaki.

Maybe Tutaki is playing "rope-a-dope"? He finally starts swinging, but Parker comes back at him and Tutaki crumples into the ropes.

The round ends and Tutaki wobbles back to his corner.

Round One

Tutaki comes out as a southpaw, but after Parker's first flurry, he changes back to his normal stance.

He's mixing it up, which will make him less effective.

Already, this is looking like a glorified heavy bag session and may not go the distance. Tutaki is just covering up and doesn't seem too interested in throwing anything himself.

 

Tutaki has a 20-22 professional record, so he's a journeyman and probably isn't going to test Parker, who missed selection for the London Olympics, even though he was one of the top amateurs in the world.

Parker has some big names behind him, so he's been hyped to the hilt. It would be nice to see him score a convincing result here, but he may just be logging ring time as he builds his career.

This is just his third pro fight.

 

FIGHT SIX - WILLIE MASON (121.1KG) V TROY FLAVELL (114.5KG)

Result - draw

There's a bit of discussion about this and we called it during that last round. Neither fighter really got on top and while everyone favoured Mason to get the decision, this results seems fair.

"Me and Flavs have got along good all week, and said we'd just go out there and bang it," says Mason.

League 3.5 Rugby 1.5 (I think they're trying to claim Smith's win too, but it doesn't make any difference)

Round Three

Give Flavell some credit - he hasn't stopped coming at Big Willie. He could get a draw out of this, because Mason hasn't landed much.

Flav ends the bout swinging - tough one to call.

Round Two

Mason has thrown away his headgear, which was slipping down over his eyes.

Flavell tries to get in early, but the rivals get tangled up and tumble to the floor. Flavs is looking tuckered, but he sways Mason momentarliy.

They alread look like heavyweights in the late rounds of a 12-round title fight. It's just Round Two.

Round One

Mason comes out swinging somewhat agriculturally and Flavell looks to use his jab to create some separation.

They seem to be whispering in each other's ear and they're hugging each other a lot. Flavell somehow gets tangled in the ropes and Mason helps him back into the ring.

Such gentlemen.

 

The battle of the big boys - always thought Mason was a monster on the league paddock and now he looks even more daunting. Flavel is no midget either, so if either of these guys go down, the fans in the front row might have to duck for cover.

Mason's dad died of cancer and he also has Fenech in his corner. He looks pretty relaxed.

 

FIGHT FIVE - JARROD MCCRACKEN (99.35KG) V CARLOS SPENCER (89.45KG)

Result - Spencer claims victory

Spencer takes his win with a Heineken in his hand, not great news for the event's sponsor - Woodstock bourbon.

That's a bit of payback for being robbed last year.

"I came here with the intention of boxing last time, but this was more like a league match than boxing," admits Spencer.

Rugby gets one on the board -  League 3 Rugby 1

Round Three

Apparently, there is some feeling between these guys outside the ring, so that's just fuelled the action inside it.

Spencer's eye is closing, but he is starting to land on a tiring McCracken. They're eying each other with menace.

Crackers is just hanging on and the bell arrives.

That really lives up to billing, but it wasn't boxing. 

Round Two

Spencer throws an overhead right to start the second round, but that just seems to spark McCracken into action.

He's warned again for a head and chases Spencer when he tries to flee.

There's a lot talk between the fighters - it's a brawl.

Round One

Right from the bell, McCracken is into Spencer with everything - head, elbows, everything.

There's nothing pretty about this fight early one, but "Crackers" is warned by the ref and things slow down a little.

There's another forearm, though, and McCracken is warned again as the bell sounds.

 

McCracken was one hard dude in his prime on the league field, but he's 42 now. How much of that mongrel has he lost?

Spencer was one of the stars of last year's Fight for Life, controversially drawing with Awen Guttenbeil. This could be the highlight of the night.

Apparently, there was a power problem at Trusts, so a bit of a wait for the next fight, but they're entering the ring now.

McCracken's dad is battle cancer and Junior has already raised $38,000 for this cause, which he handed over at yesterday's weigh-in.

 

FIGHT FOUR - LAUREN EAGLE (59.9KG) V DANIELLA SMITH (59.8KG)

Result - Hate to say I told you so (but I did), Smith wins unanimous decision.

Smith's mouthguard is apparently stuck in her mouth. Eagle claims she fights better going backwards and judges don't like it.

Round Six

Eagle needs to take this final round, but she continues to back pedal. The Aussie has perhaps kept her form better, while Smith is not connecting as cleanly as she was earlier.

Round Five

Eagle is keen to get on with it, perhaps sensing how far behind she is.

It would be interesting to see how far these boxers have travelled during the fight, because Smith has really dominated the centre of the ring and Eagle has done all the runing.

Round Four

Smith rocks Eagle with a combination and the Aussie doesn't really have any answer, althoug the commentators think she might have taken that round. She's not doing enough to win the war, though.

Round Three

Smith is now all over Eagle and just keeps moving forward, awaiting her opportunities. She looks superbly conditioned halfway through the bout.

Round Two

Smith keeps advancing on Eagle - the commentators seem worried that Smith's age (40) may serve against her as the fight goes one.

But when she lands, her punches are carrying more power.

Round One

Eagle has a big-swinging right, but it's not connecting. She looks busy, while Smith is taking some time to suss out her rival. 

 

Kiwi Smith is a former world champion and Eagle, a feature of the "Footy Show" holds a world title as well. These gals are pros, so six two-minute rounds.

Spoiler alert - there are already photos of this fight on the internet, so maybe SKY is slipping this one in. Don't be shocked if Smith wins - I've seen pics that suggest this is so :-/

Both fighters are about the same built. Apparently Eagle is also a former champion water skiier, so if she wins, does water skiing get the points to go ahead of rugby?

Smith is fighting in a skirt.

 

FIGHT THREE - PAUL GALLEN (104.35KG) V HIKA ELLIOT (113.35KG)

Result - Gallen wins unanimous points

Elliot's boasts of a knockout almost come back to haunt him and Gallen's reputation just got even more fomridable.

"That was one of the toughest things I've ever done," says Gallen. "I'm accustomed to playing rugby league and more than confident about playing 80 minutes, but that's the first time I've done this and my legs were gone after Round One."

Apparently he's due for some elbow surgery on Thursday.

League 3 Rugby 0

Round Three

Hika needs a knockdown and he has only two minutes to do it. He needs to tap into his inner mongrel.

Gallen lands a swinging left on Elliot's beak and then another right uppercut. Elliot seems to have lost interest in winning and is just surviving now.

And he just survives.

Round Two

Elliot needs to start landing punches to get back in this, but Gallen is still the aggressor. He connects with an uppercut that stuns Elliot and perhaps another ound goes his way.

Round One

Elliot looks super confident, but Gallen soon lines him up for a series of rights to the ribs. That takes the bounce out of his opponent's step.

Gallen boxes like he plays league - nothing flashy, just straight down the middle. That's his round.

 

Elliot is promising the crowd a knockout in this one, but it sounds more like wishful thinking. Gallen is another leaguee with a hardman reputation - he'd look awesome in a Warriors jersey.

Hika the Hooker enjoys a weight advantage of almost 10kg, so he'll pack a punch. He's also a black belt in karate, so knows how to handle himself.

Elliot is slightly taller, but has dinosaur arms - Gallen has the reach advantage.

 

FIGHT TWO - MANU VATUVEI (104.2KG) V ERIC MURRAY (100.4KG)

Result - Vatuvei wins a unanimous points decision

That's fair. Everyone thought Murray would get smashed, but he found intelligently against an opponent who showed some ring skills. They'll share a beer tonight and laugh about it.

"Look at my muscles - they're nothing compared to his," says Murray. "So we had to work with the skill set I had - I used my fitness and tried to frustrate him."

League 2 Rugby (sort of) 0

Round Three

Vatuvei had Monty Betham in his ear between rounds and his man comes out strong for the final roud. With the end in sight, he obviously has been saving something.

He smashes Murray in the ribs and you can hear the air escaping the lungs from here. The rower is on the run and Vatuvei has this one under control.

Round Two

Vatuvei may have to up his workrate a little, because Murray snuck back into that first round and might have stolen it.

The Beast is landing body shots and Murray has a lot of body to aim for, let's face it.

Nothing too much in that round, maybe Vatuvei got an edge.

Round One

Murray looks slightly awkward in the ring and Vatuvei is controlling the centre. His movements are very efficient and commentators are comparing him to Mike Tyson.

Vatuvei cops a stray right from Murray - and another. That straight right could be a weapon for him and kept him in that round.

 

Everyone is saying Murray faces a hiding here, but he could be a surprise.

Can't remember seeing Vatuvei throwing any punches during his Warriors career and the longer this fight goes, the more Murray's endurance will come into play.

Murray is unbeaten on the water this year, but this is a different proposition. He looks serious though.

Vatuvei has lost eight kilograms for this fight and as expected, Murray has a reach advantage.

 

FIGHT ONE - GREG BIRD (102.45KG) V RENE RANGER (98.8KG)

Result - Bird wins a majority points decision

Well, Bird is as surprised as anyone by that and the ruled illegal punch in the second round was probably the decided. Hard luck for Ranger, who seemed to be the better fighter on the night.

"That could've went either way," says Bird. "It was pretty close, no standouts there."

League 1 Rugby 0

Round Three

Ranger connects early, but Bird looks like he's been foxing a little. He's definitely throwing more punches.

But Ranger is swinging wildly and connects on Bird's chin, knocking him down.

Ranger is bleeding from the nose, so he's literally smelling blood now.

That knockdown might be enough to get him the decision.

Round Two

Both fighters come out swinging and Ranger stumbles, but regathers and puts Bird down for the count. Bird's corner - he has former world champion Jeff Fenech backing him up - argues it was an illegal punch and referee Lance Revill agrees, docking Ranger two points.

Ranger is fired up, but can't get the points back before the end of the round.

Round One

Ranger certainly looks more the part - his jabs seem to pack some power, while Bird's is more of a tentative prod to the body.

If Bird is going to do any damage, it will come from his hook.

But that first round goes to Ranger, who closes with a flurry. The bell rings just in time for Bird.

 

Bird is a current Kangaroo, with a reputation as a hard man in the field. Ranger is more of runner, not a fighter, but hails from the Far North, where they breed 'em tough.

Should be a cracker! 

Bird enters the ring without head gear, but Ranger is wearing his. Ranger is two years younger and while the pair are the same height, Ranger has a slight reach advantage.

 

BUILD-UP

It pays not to take this event too seriously, unless you happen to step through the ropes and face an opponent just as scared of being beaten to a pulp on national (pay-per-view) television.

Don't get me wrong, these guys (and gals) have trained hard for this event and it's for a worthy cause - the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ.

But it may not be pretty. Self-preservation is very much the name of the game.

Everyone has a favourite match-up and perhaps the most popular face-off will be Olympic rowing champion Eric Murray up against NZ Warriors winger Manu "The Beast" Vatuvei.

The headline pro fight sees rookie Joseph Parker meet Richard Tutaki. It's early days in Parker's much-hyped professional career, so don't expect his management to have picked a real opponents this soon.

It shouldn't be close.

Here's the card:

Jarrod McCracken v Carlos Spencer

Manu Vatuvei v Eric Murray

Greg Bird v Rene Ranger

Lauryn Eagle v Daniella Smith (pro fight)

Paul Gallen v Hika Elliot

Willie Mason v Troy Flavell

Joseph Parker v Richard Tutaki (pro fight)

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