Pegoraro in race to pack on the pounds
HOW far would you go to help out a mate in need?
For Corporate Box Ipswich owner Kurtis Pegoraro, the lengths of his friendship extends to jumping in the ring with a six-foot-eight former Queensland boxing champion.
It was meant to be a Queensland heavyweight title fight between Ipswich's Dempsey McKean and veteran boxer John Szigetti.
But just a week before the bout, the former West Moreton Anglican student tore cartilage in his chest, leaving him unable to defend his newly acquired Queensland title.
A promoter himself, Pegoraro put his hand up to save the day and take on the man mountain instead.
"Dempsey pulled out last Friday and the fight was meant to be the following Saturday,” Pegoraro said.
"The fight got pushed back another 13 days which was good for me.
"I was already fit and training but it gave me a bit more time to get ready. I knew the promoter would be quite disappointed to have to pull the fight. I've been in that position before and it does suck.”
Injuries and pull-outs are a common occurrence in the world of boxing. A full- contact sport where even training sessions carry a risk of injury, Pegoraro said he just wanted the fight to go ahead.
"You can do a 12-week preparation and then it all falls through a week before,” he said. "So when Dempsey had to pull out I thought why not, I'm fit.”
Held at the Gold Coast Turf Club, the Night of Champions exhibition will see Pegoraro fight a class up from his usual cruiser- weight bouts. Currently in training to take on Muay Thai veteran Trevor Looms in November, he will need to pack on the pounds quickly.
"It's definitely a different preparation especially fighting someone who is six-foot-eight,” he laughed.
"When I took the fight I was walking around at 92kg's which is only just over the cruiserweight limit. So I just get to eat now I suppose.
"I wouldn't say you get to eat anything and everything because you still need to eat well, but there is a bit more leniency.
"Hopefully I can come in at over 100kg and go from there. Dempsey is a super lean heavyweight and he'd be around 115kg so I assume John is going to be over 120kg.”
A tough never-give-up fighter, McKean was devastated to discover the injury would rule him out of the fight. An ultra-sound revealed the extent of the chest injury which McKean had been carrying for more than a month.
Forced to sit on the sidelines for now, McKean will be aiming to be fit in time for his Australian heavyweight title fight later this year. In the meantime, Pegoraro said he'd be taking a bit of the "Tower of Terror's'' game plan into this weekends fight against the former NBL player, Szigetti.
"I'll be going in with exactly the same game plan,” he said. "He'll be heavier than me but he won't be able to move like me.
"I don't have the reach that Dempsey has but I'm still confident. John is 43 years old so I think as long as I can set a good pace, due to his age and heart-rate, he shouldn't be able to maintain it.
"The fitness isn't the issue for me it's more transitioning from the kick-boxing. If I can win this fight it will be the third time someone from Corporate Box Ipswich has held the title. To be able to keep it at home would be great.”
Doors open from 5pm on Saturday for the Night of Champions at the Gold Coast Turf Club, or stream the fight live via www.tvringside.com.