Twenty fights in 10 hours: Festival of boxing set for Newcastle

Twenty bouts in 10 hours, food trucks, beer gardens and live music. It’s boxing like Australia has never seen it before, and could be “just the beginning” as promoter George Rose eyes more blockbuster events of its kind.

Rose has to decide between a world title fight or the next chapter in the Tszyu legacy to headline a historic day at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on October 8, with a sold-out crowd of more than 5000 expected for a first of its kind event organised by Rose’s No Limit Boxing.

Rising super welterweight Nikita Tszyu’s clash with unbeaten Newcastle product Darkon Dryden has emerged as a contender to headline the show, while a bout between Brisbane-based Irishman Denis Hogan and IBO super welterweight world champion Sam Egginton is also in consideration.

Tszyu wants to headline the event he expects will be “a little chaotic”, with fights likely to be split across streaming, Fox Sports and Main Event pay-per-view platforms. Ask the Rose brothers why they want to run a festival-style show and they simply reply: “Why not?”

“This is just the beginning of what we’d like to keep doing with Australian boxing. We’ve got the talent, we’ve got the platform, and we know how to put on a good show,” Rose said.

“We’ve been building towards it for quite some time. It was something we wanted to do prior to what’s happened with COVID restrictions in previous years.

No Limit will stage a festival of boxing in Newcastle on October 8.Credit:Getty

“It’s going to be an exciting day for any sports fan out there. Footy season is over, it’s something for all the punters to come along to and enjoy a good day, a festival of boxing. Twenty fights, some of the best fighters in Australia, in some fantastic match-ups.

“We’ll have that festival atmosphere. There’s going to be music, there’s going to be a beer garden, plenty of action, plenty of excitement. We’ve got some guys who really want to steal the show in the ring, too.”

Like Tszyu, determined to follow in the footsteps of his brother Tim and legendary father Kostya, or Dryden, who declares “Tszyu falls in five”. Dryden says he will not be daunted by the occasion, claiming you could give him cash to fight in a Coles car park and he’ll get it on.

Then there’s Hogan, who says his third world title shot it “all or nothing”. Or fast rising super bantamweight Sam Goodman and the mad bunch – his famed crew of supporters who follow him to every fight – in full voice.

Light heavyweight prospect Paulo Aokuso faces Faris Chevalier, vowing to chase Jeff Fenech’s mark of winning a world title in seven fights. Jayde Mitchell returns from a lay-off at super middleweight.

Every fighter wants to steal the show, even more so after Rose promised a knockout bonus of $10,000. Then super lightweight Darragh Foley interjected asking for $15,000. And Tszyu? He told the promoter to make it $20,000. You have to wonder just how deep Rose’s pockets are.

“Jeez, not as deep as they’re making it out to be,” Rose said. “I asked Darragh before, ‘If I’d have said $5000, would you have settled for $10,000 with what you came back with?’ He said, ‘I probably would have’. I got done in that one, I got dudded there. I think it jumped to $20,000 by the end of the press conference.

“We’ll just see what happens over the day, let’s see how we go. I really want them to turn it on for the fans. If we’re going to do a big day like this, you’ve got to have great fights to go with it. It’s only a great day if we get the great fights to go with it. Everybody says they’re going to bring it, so let’s see what happens.”

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