THERE are few places in sport tougher than playing in the front-row of a scrum... but a boxing ring could be one of them.
Doncaster-based forward Liam Higgins, who has played Super League for Hull FC and Castleford and is now with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, will find out when he competes in the first ever Super League Prize-fighter competition at the Hull Arena on December 17.
The event forms part of Hull FC’s assistant coach Lee Radford’s Testimonial and 28 year-old Higgins is one of eight rugby league stars - who include former Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe - who will be chasing a knockout first prize of £5,000.
All eight participants, who will find out their first round opponents at a dinner in Hull this weekend, will box three two-minute rounds. If he wins through to the final, and all the bouts go the distance, he would end up boxing nine rounds on the night.
“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s also for a good cause with Lee donating part of money raised to two charities,” said Higgins.
Higgins is taking the event seriously and has been training regularly at the Highfields Amateur Boxing Club under the watchful eye of head coach John Loosemore and several fellow coaches.
“During the off-season I was training four times a week but since pre-season has started I’ve just been going down there once or twice a week,” he said.
“The first month or so all I worked on was my jab and my footwork and getting my balance right.
“It’s been hard and there has been a lot to learn but I’m a lot more confident than when I started.
“I’d never boxed before but I’d always watched it and it is something that I’d always fancied doing. When Lee, who I played with at Hull, asked me if I’d be interested. I said that I’d love to do it.
“Having trained for several months it makes you appreciate how hard it is.
“In rugby, if you feel tired during a game you’ve got 12 other players to help you whereas you are by yourself in a ring.”
Due to a sponsor pulling out, all eight boxers are having to supply their own kit and Higgins, who can be contacted on 07760 123325, is looking for sponsorship to help cover the cost of items such as boots and headgear.
“People can either sponsor me for the whole kit or various items,” he said.
Several of the other boxers, including Radford, have fought in charity events in the past, but the former Toll Bar junior remains confident that he will give a good account of himself.
“I’m not going there to lose,” he said.
Higgins, who still has some tickets available, will not lack support on the night and among the 30 odd people cheering him on will be Dons’ winger Dean Colton, who has also been granted a testimonial next year.
Tickets are also available from the venue on 01482 352252.
NEW Doncaster Rugby League Club commercial manager Ray Green, who has held the position in the past under a different regime, is hoping supporters rally round to help make the club’s Christmas draw a big success.
“If we can get 100 supporters to sell £20 worth of tickets each that would go a long way to hitting the target of £5,000 from the draw,” said Ray.
Ray, who is also open to suggestions on other fund-raising ideas, says his door at the Keepmoat Stadium is always open.
He can be contacted on Doncaster 765888 (office) or 07506 647571 or be email on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARK Hughesman of Rossington and Stephen Welbourn of Armthorpe are the two winners of Talking Sport’s Official Story of Engage Super League XV1 DVD competition. Mark and Stephen correctly answered that Rob Burrow plays for Leeds Rhinos and were the first correct entries to be drawn.
Their prizes will be available for collection from reception at The Star’s office in Sunny Bar from tomorrow between 9am-5pm (excluding weekends).
I’M sure that I speak for everyone on the Doncaster sporting scene when I wish Doncaster Knights’ scrum-half Lee Audis, badly injured in a car crash at the weekend, a complete and speedy recovery from his injuries.