EAST Warrnambool footballer Rodney “Rocket” Sumner and his Dennington counterpart Sam “Sugar Ray” Lewis have won the second South West Club Contender.
Judges picked the pair as the best fighters after an entertaining night where footballers donned boxing gloves in the name of fund-raising.
Lewis defeated East’s Ashley Sumner while Rodney Sumner outboxed Dennington’s Matt Brauman at St Pius X Primary School on Saturday night.
Other bouts went the way of Hawkesdale-Macarthur’s Josh Reichman (against East Warrnambool’s Jayson Millet) and Dennington’s Paul Young (against Jayson’s brother Jayden Millet, also of East Warrnambool).
Russells Creek’s David Timewell beat Panmure’s Chris Walters in the sole heavyweight fight.
The uneven sizes of the 10 fighters meant continuing the bouts was impossible and Sumner and Lewis took the best-fighter honours.
Organiser Damian “Butch” Smith, of Bang Bang entertainment, said about 300 people packed the school hall to see the footballers step out of their comfort zones.
“All the boys got one fight and with that we nominated the best fighters and the best fight of the night,” he said.
“The boxers had a chance of a lifetime to get in the ring and they really appreciated what we did.
“The main difference was last year the boys fought on a bit more.
“This year we didn’t have the right match-ups to go further.
“We only got the one fight out of them.
“It’s a pretty hard task going three 90-second rounds.”
Lewis said the experience had given him a new-found appreciation for professional boxers.
“I can’t believe the actual boxers now,” he said.
“We only fought three minute-and-a-half rounds, and these guys are fighting for 12 rounds.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for them.
“I always knew it was tough, but I didn’t realise how tough it was.
“You can train and train but it only takes two rounds and your legs go to concrete.”
Lewis said he was disappointed with how he fought, despite taking the honours, and insisted footage of the bout would never make YouTube.
He said he was glad he competed, but did not think he would box again.
“I spent a few months learning how to throw a straight punch and looking at the video it was embarrassing,” he said.
“The crowd, you hear them in your ear and the nerves get to you and you forget your training from the last few months.”
The fighters’ clubs got $10 from each ticket.
East Warrnambool and Dennington raised about $500 each on the night.