by Kate Woods
DULWICH Hill’s Fighting Father will make his professional boxing debut next weekend to save his parish’s cash-strapped youth centre.
Holy Trinity Anglican parish priest Father David Smith will become the first Australian in Holy Orders to fight as a professional when he climbs into the ring.
The experienced kickboxer will take on Belmore’s rugged Jimmy Patt over four rounds in his first Marquis of Queensberry bout.
The fight will be part of an action-packed program of boxing and kickboxlng at the Addison Rd Community Centre on FrIday, October 11.
Fr Smith had intended hanging up his gloves after narrowly losing the recent NSW Superwelterweight kickboxing title on a points decision but has been lured back to the ring in a bid to keep his youth centre afloat.
“At the moment, we’ve got enough funds to keep us going to the end of November but we need another $1000 to get us to the end of the year,” he said.
“We are running out of options. I was offered a good deal on this fight. I feel I have no choice but to take it.”
Fr Smith will give his purse to the youth centre and promoter Barry Raff will also donate the proceeds of a raffle on the night.
The priest is reluctant to climb back into the ring after a couple of heavy hits.
“1 wouldn’t be fighting if I didn’t have to at the moment,” he said.
“I’m turning 35 soon and most of the guys you’re fighting tend to be 18 or 20. The injuries take longer to heal these days.
“But having said that, we’re very grateful to Barry for getting us out of this hole.”
The youth centre, which Fr Smith set up in 1994, is a fully-equipped gym and drop-in centre, providing an
after-school recreation facility for local teenagers.
“We are the only facility of this type in our area. I think it would be a real loss to the community if we were forced to close,” he said.
Friday’s program will also feature a super middleweight boxing match between Paul “The Doctor” Smallman and Jamie “Wild Man” Wallace.
ISKA Commonwealth champion Alex Tui will be pitted against ISKA Intercontinental champ John “The Hammer” Hallford at the 71kg limit in a special kickboxing bout.
Other fights will be: NSW light heavyweight champion Glen Kelly vs Fijian boxer Moses Soroul; Troy Speed vs New Zealand champ Jarrod Zohs; and Jim Savage vs Dale Middleton.