Soliman in Warrnambool amateur boxers' corner

Warrnambool boxer Chris Dendle
Warrnambool boxer Chris Dendle

INTERNATIONAL Boxing Federation middleweight champion Sam Soliman will call the shots when five south-west amateurs take to the ring on Friday night.

The five, products of Warrnambool gym Rudy's Boxing, will have Soliman in their corner for the bouts at Griffth University in Brisbane.

Chris Dendle and Greg Bell will make their debuts while Luci Hand, Bianca Slater and teenager Jye Clark will seek to improve encouraging records.

Bell is first up against Daniel Tundrea in a 73-kilogram bout before Clark meets Ronan Paulos in a junior bout at 48kg immediately after.

Dendle takes on Dylan Harrison at 69kg. All three bouts feature three two-minute rounds.

Hand and Slater, Victorian representatives at national championships earlier this year, are among 14 female boxers in action.

Hand is up against Emma Payne at 54kg. Slater meets Matilda Shaw, formerly of Port Fairy, at 57kg.

Dendle, a former Timboon Demons footballer who grew up at Nirranda, said the chance to fight competitively had "been a long time coming".

He started boxing casually when he was 15 with neighbour Sam Dalziel before training under Darren Pearce at Punch On Fitness in Dennington.

Dendle headed to Rudy's Boxing after representing South West Cricket at Melbourne Country Week in February.

The result: He's dropped 9kg in four months, transformed his diet, added muscle and honed the skills his previous coaches had taught him.

"After I got back from Country Week cricket I just went to a couple of trainings at Rudy's Boxing. I just really enjoyed it," he said.

"It got to the stage I was enjoying it more than I was enjoying my footy.

"I pretty much stuck at that, thought I may as well have the season off footy and concentrate on my boxing and see how I go."

Dendle said having Soliman in his corner would be "awesome".

"I was watching him on Fox Sports at fights in Melbourne. He said to one of the lads 'keep your hands up and you'll be right'," he said.

He admitted nerves had struck him this week but was confident of holding his own against Harrison.

"You never know what's going to happen. I'll have to wait and see what the other lad looks like (before devising a strategy)," he said.

"Dad did a bit of research on him and apparently he's got a good jab and is quite tall. Hopefully I'll be able to get on the inside and work it out from there."


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