Whilst he didn't make the cut as one of the Southern Showdown contenders - the gentleman of the boot camp, Niel Louw continued training with the main camp and as a result was afforded the opportunity of completing his journey at our sister event - the 'Thriller in the Chiller' in Queenstown.

When one of the 'Thrillers' contenders sustained a concussion three weeks out the call was made and Niel travelled to Queenstown last Saturday to complete his and Sam's journey.

Both south paws an ultimate clash was had and despite an incredible performance Niel took a blow early in the first round which had him on the back foot and fighting to gain traction in the final two rounds.

Sam held on and after what has been hailed as one of the best bouts in ‘Thriller’s’ 5 year history Sam came out on top 30 – 26, 30 – 26, 30 -26.

But as ever, Niel showed his true sportsmanship with a moving speech and recognition to the better fighter on the night.

On the Monday following Niel shared his experience at training with the Showdown contenders who seemed engrossed if not a little anxious as they pondered their own journey into the ring in less than 20 days time.

Getting a wake-up call - 11th Jun 2013

Getting a wake-up call ODT advertising sales manager Tina Stevens is bravely stepping into the ring for the Southern Showdown charity boxing event. In this blog she will document her progress towards the day of truth on July 27.

Our most recent session was a bit of a wake-up call. I quickly realised how few boxing skills I had actually acquired, and how much work was in front of me.

Face-planting in the middle of the boxing ring in front of 1500 people is not how I want things to end up!

The session started well, going over the basics that we covered in contender bootcamp. We then progressed to counter-punching, which, for some reason just seemed to be too hard for me to master.

I had to think too hard about what to do, and any reaction was definitely not instinctive.

You cannot just stop the fight halfway through, so I could clarify whether I should go outside left or just a straight! I walked away from the session feeling flat and worried about how much training I have to get through in eight very short weeks.

Up until that session, things had been really encouraging and enjoyable (yip, enjoyable). Contender bootcamp involved 42 individuals, all hoping to be selected to go in the ring for the charity event, Southern Showdown. This was whittled down to 22 after 6 weeks, and after having a week off, we are now into full-on training.

We had varying backgrounds, occupations and motivations. The idea of me being involved came from suggestions from some staff and colleagues.

What was a bit of joking around, quickly became a challenge to them to "sell' the idea to me. They banded together, and, coupled with a multi-page signed petition, put together a power point presentation on why I should do this.

I have to admit, they did a bloody good job. I cannot divulge the contents of the presentation, but it was both funny and embarrassing at the same time. Talk about a sales manager being sucked into a sales pitch.

I honestly think that whilst the encouragement helped, the main reason for me signing up was to push myself completely outside my comfort zone.

It is hard going at times - not so much being punched, but punching someone else. Our first sparring session was an eye-opener, (more like a brawling session in my case!).

We have become slightly more refined in our technique, but I feel it is still a long way off before I look and feel like I know what I am supposed to be doing.

We have had a week off after bootcamp, so it has now been 3 weeks since I last had a sparring session. That may be the reason why I am not so confident about technique.

Maybe this week we have some sparring sessions and that will turn things around. I hope ;-).


22 SELECTED TO BOX ON - 24th May 2013

Dunedin City Motors marketing consultant Anna Esquilant (left) and Otago Daily Times advertising sales manager Tina Stevens square off at Dunedin Casino last night after being selected for the 2013 Southern Showdown charity boxing match. The gloves are coming on.

The contenders for the 2013 Southern Showdown charity boxing match were announced at Dunedin Casino last night.

The 38 male and female contenders, who endured a six-week boot camp, learned whether they had made the cut for the July 27 event at the Edgar Centre.

Eleven bouts were selected, involving a diverse range of people, producer Doug Kamo said last night.

''We are thrilled with the calibre of those who have been selected.

''We have an incredible cross-section of people from within our community, including lawyers, teachers, real estate agents, marketing assistants, car salesmen, chefs and advertising executives.''

More than 70 hopefuls applied to join boot camp, 44 were selected and 38 finished the first round of training last Friday, Mr Kamo said.

The card includes a middleweight bout between Otago Daily Times advertising sales manager Tina Stevens and Dunedin City Motors marketing consultant Anna Esquilant.

''They are both very, very good and very evenly matched,'' Mr Kamo said.

The event is a fundraiser for the Otago Community Hospice. Last year's inaugural Showdown raised $32,500 for the Malcam Trust.

The 22 selected fighters will continue to train six times a week with professional trainers Ryan Henry and Eldon Clifton until the event.

Tickets are available through the Edgar Centre and TicketDirect.

The contenders are: Sonia McGregor v Zantedeschia Robini (light featherweight), Saul Ross v Wayne Griffiths (light heavyweight), Tama Walker v Rob Stout (super middleweight), Aimee Edwards v Leah Hanan (super featherweight), Grant Williams v Neville Haua (heavyweight), Suzanne Edington v Marnie Sime (welterweight), Mark McHutchon v Stuart Henderson (super middleweight), Phillip Todd v Hamish McDonald (heavyweight), Anna Esquilant v Tina Stevens (middleweight), Karl Sefton v Nick Eathorne (heavyweight) and Andrew Fraser v Richard Anderson (light heavyweight).

Boot Camp Ends - Contenders Awaiting Selection - 17th May 2013

Boot Camp Ends - Contenders Awaiting Selection

44 began the journey and 37 completed it this morning with a tough skill and fitness based workout.

Over the past week all contenders have weathered bruised ribs, bloody noses, strained muscles and several rounds in the ring showing their new found skills in front of the selectors of Doug Kamo (Producer), Ryan Henry (Head Trainer) and Eldon Cliffton (Assistant Trainer).

To all our contenders – stand tall and be proud of your achievement. Whether selected or not you have shown immense character, determination and commitment over the past 6 weeks. We and no doubt your family, friends and supporters are extremely proud of you.

It is now time to make the tough decision on what names will be read out at the Contender Announcement evening this Thursday.

The successful contenders will be released shortly after the announcement right here on the Southern Showdown Facebook Page.

So standby Dunedin! – Southern Showdown Round 2 is almost upon us!

Make sure you get your tickets early from Ticket Direct – on public sale from Monday 27 May.

Meet two of the Bootcamp Contenders - 18th Apr 2013

Nigel Rickerby (CIO for Silver Fern Farms) and Phil Todd (Store Manager - Dunedin Pak N Save) share their reasons why they have joined the journey and what they hope to get out of the Bootcamp and hopefully the entire event if selected.

We take a look at the development of all the Bootcamp Contenders after just 2 weeks training.

Watch the video by CLICKING HERE



Here's your chance to have your say and find out at the 'Contender Announcement Evening' on 23 May.

CLICK HERE - LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AND TELL US WHO YOU'RE SUPPORTING and you'll be in the draw to win 2 tickets to the Contender Announcement evening.

Enjoy mixing and mingling with the Contenders, drinks and nibbles, entertainment and the naming of the Dunedin Casino Southern Showdown Contenders for 2013.


Bootcamp Begins for Contender Hopefuls - 8th Apr 2013

Bootcamp Begins for Contender Hopefuls 43 hopefuls began Bootcamp this morning at NZ Fight & Fitness.

There was an air of excitement and anxiety as individuals were put through some basic boxing skills and a taste of what the fitness regime will be like for the next 6 weeks.

Check out our first video diary by clicking here


52 individuals have survived the first round of the 2013 Dunedin Casino Southern Showdown by being selected to join Contender Bootcamp which starts on Monday.

The inaugural event was staged last year at the Lion Foundation Arena and raised over $32,000 for the Malcam Trust. This year an all new line up of contenders will step into the ring on 27 July with funds benefiting the Otago Community Hospice.

“We are at Bootcamp capacity and those who have been successful have been given quite an opportunity as they have been selected from 74 applications” producer Doug Kamo said.

“What is most pleasing is to see the significant increase in female applications. Last year we had 8 women apply which is in stark contrast to the 23 we’ve received this year” Kamo says. “Now all the contenders need to do is apply themselves 100% throughout the grueling 6 week training period so we can find potential match ups that are both fair and represent a great cross section of our business and recreational community”.

Boot Camp contender and Cutlers Real Estate agent Hamish McDonald says, “being given the opportunity to step into the ring is the biggest life challenge I’ve ever faced. I’m looking forward to receiving the best training and fitness possible whilst doing something great for an even greater charity”.

Pak N Save Manager, Phil Todd says getting punched on the hooter whilst helping to raise funds for the Otago Community Hospice would be well worth it. “The support they gave my family and grandmother in her final weeks was truly amazing”.

Following boot camp the trainers and promoters will take time to select up to 20 individuals who will then complete a further 9 weeks of training in preparation for the big night at the Lion Foundation Arena.

The event is once again sanctioned and managed by Pat Leonard and the team from the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association. The event is classified as “Social” boxing. This dictates the compulsory use of head gear and 16oz gloves and all boxers will be required to undergo a pre-bout weigh in and medical.

The selected Contenders will be announced at an invitation event to be held at the Dunedin Casino on 23 May 2013.

Tickets for this black tie event being held at the Lion Foundation Arena go on sale on 27 May 2013

For more information go to

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