BOXING Day has taken on a new meaning, with real gladiators climbing into the ring in a clash between the Christians and the Lions at Dulwich Hill.
“Fighting Father” Dave Smith, parish priest of Holy Trinity, Duiwich Hill, and a team of local boxers, kickboxers, wrestlers and shootfighters will take on the best from martial arts centres at Manly.
There will be 10 bouts, plus martial arts demonstrations – and it’s all to support Trinity’s Youth Centre and the young people of the district.
Father Dave started it all when he wanted to do something for the young people of the area. He wanted to give them a place to hang out, off the streets.
So he took off the collar and challenged the youth of the area to a fight in the ring – any discipline. If he lost, he’d buy the coffee. If he won, the vanquished was invited to turn up at church on Sunday.
He’s a pretty mean fighter, Father Dave, but that’s where the meanness ends.
His idea has grown to a fully operational Youth Fitness Centre, with coffee shop and gym – a real place to hang out for about a hundred locals.
After the success of last year’s inaugural Christians versus Lions, Holy Trinity decided to do it again to raise money for a full-time youth worker.
Starting at 7 pm, on December 26, local talent from the Dulwich Hill and Marrickville areas will be competing against a combined team from the Manly area.
WKA World Junior Middleweight Kick-boxing champion Alex Tui will again be supporting the event.
Like Father Dave, Alex is known for his work with the young people of Redfern, where he runs the Tony Mundine Gym.
Alex will feature in a demonstration bout against the most prominent member of the Manly team – WKA World Super Cruiser-weight Kickboxing champion Adam Watt.
Trinity’s Youth Fitness Centre has been running for almost two years now – providing a recreational and drop-in facility for the teenagers of Dulwich Hill.
It is now equipped with a full weights gymnasium, punching bags, martial arts equipment, and its own boxing and wrestling ring.
Two youth workers have already offered their services – having heard about the centre through the last Boxing Day promotion.
The centre now simply needs the funds. As for Father Dave, Boxing Day will be just another round in the full-time fight for the young people of Dulwich Hill and Marrickville.