Narrandera’s first ‘Brawl on the Bidgee’ fight night at the Pioneer Hall recently was a huge success.
Every corner of the hall was filled with people watching and cheering the fighters on and many more watched online.
There were a total of ten fights on the night made up of local fighters such as Jesse Riddell, Brayden Ingram, Cameron Lyons and Pilara Hawkins.
They were well matched from fighters from around the region who hailed from Albury, Griffith, Shepparton and even as far as Newcastle.
Organisers Tracey Lewis and Troy Prior said it was the town’s first fight night in half a century and was a great success.
They thanked volunteers and sponsors for their wonderful support which ensured the event’s success.
Special thanks were extend to Troy’s wife Nicole who planned the menu and delivered a fine meal to every table, Grant Coelli the MC for the evening, Hueweel Rees for best donating his time to ensure the safety of the event and Graeme Melbourne without whom organisers would have never been able to pull this event off.
Referees and officials helped the organisers to put on a good show and the door people, bar staff and waitresses worked hard all night and gave a 100% effort.
Local gym operator Dwayne Mathews and the Shed Life team undertook the weigh in and generally helped out.
‘Cardboy’ Rustty Lake-Connolly was assisted by two young female helpers, whom he drew from the crowd.
Alistair McDonald and the Narrandera District Hospital provided very last minute help with the medical requirements.
Organisers said the night’s atmosphere was great and they were already looking forward to the next one.
“It was fantastic, there was no jeering, there was no booing… of course local boxers got the big cheer but so did the others if someone from somewhere else got a good punch in – the crowd just went mad,” they said.
“It was excellent, probably one of the best things I’ve been to since I’ve been in Narrandera and would be fantastic to see it happen again… even if boxing is not your thing, it was just the feeling and the place – it was just electric that’s the only way I could describe it,” said Rustty.
One of the major highlights of the night was the fight for the Riverina Regional middleweight title which was won by Griffith City Boxing’s Todd Granger against Newcastle’s Kyle Cook.
There was also an exhibition ‘Mate versus Mate’ bout between Buddy Oldman and Darryl Mayhem, both of whom are national champions in their own right. The fight between the two legends was held to raise awareness for mental health with Oldman urging everyone to remember that ‘strong mental health is real wealth’.
Among the many men and young women who participated was 14 year old girl Pilara Hawkins, who took up the challenge after only two months of training.
She faced a much more experienced boxer on the night and so the fight was stopped early for safety reasons but the crowd members were no less proud of her brave attempt and showed their appreciation.
See all the pictures in the issue.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 11 May 2023.