A crowd of about 150 people turned out to watch the local team from Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill slog it out with opponents drawn from a variety of boxing, wresttling and kickboxing from around Svdney in what was billed as one of the most unusual events in the history of contact fighting.
Organised by the Anglican parish priest of Dulwich Hill “Fighting Father” Dave Smith, the event was aimed at raising money for youth work in the parish.
The event, the Christians versus the Lions, was a great success, with about $3000 having been raised so far.
Although all the contests were “exhibition bouts”, which meant there were no official winners or losers, there was no lack of excitement on the night.
“The fights were competitive and exciting,” said Father Dave, “yet the spirit of the whole event remained positive and friendly”
Highlights of the night included a great display by local Dulwich Hill kickboxer Jeff Bachi, who had the current Australian amateur middleweight champion, Tim Newton, visibly worried in the last round.
Former Australian lightweight wrestling champion and professional boxer Kon Pappy, also from Dulwich Hill, put on a commanding performance in a shootfighting match (combining kickhoxing and wrestling) against Hornsby shootfighter Peter King.
Father Dave himself fought an entertaining and very evenly matched shootfighting bout against current NSW Jiujitsu champion Anthony Lange.
But the highlight of the night must have been the final kickboxing match between World junior middleweight champion Alex Tui, and the South Pacific welterweight champion, Paul “The Pitbull” Grima.
It was a last and furious encounter of great skill, with Tui demonstrating well why noone at the moment seems even interested in attempting to take his world title from him.
“I was very proud of our team,” said Father Dave. “Not only for how well they fought, but even more so for the spirit in which they did it. It was a great display of skill and good sportsmanship.
“It’s a privilege to be able to fight and pray alongside these guys.”
For those who missed the event, a video of the night is being produced and will be available for $30 from the church.
All proceeds from video sales will also go directly towards youth work in the parish.