Kapiti local, Charlie “The Horse” Rudd (age 41) caused an upset at the “Battle of the Belts” charity boxing match in Palmerston North on 5 May. The match was held to raise awareness for obesity and diabetes and sold close to 1,000 tickets.
Charlie, who only started boxing for the first time in December, revealed that “this was a fight that was close to [his] heart”. In 2008, after a wrist injury during a rugby match, Charlie weighed 117 kg. “It was so bad, I couldn’t breathe, but the worst thing of all was I couldn’t do things with my kids.” He also said, “My mum was diagnosed with diabetes, so this was the right fight for me.” He weighed in for the fight at 89.9 kg.
Charlie began to turn things around in 2009 by surrounding himself with people who enjoyed fitness, and starting a programme of body building.
Jimi Perica, Charlie’s coach, said it was clear that Charlie was the underdog in this match. His competitor David Silk had 5 fights under his belt and had home turf advantage. But Charlie had a secret weapon. His mother, Anawarihi, flew from Brisbane to support Charlie and stood ringside throughout the fight. After the third and final round, Charlie was declared the winner by unanimous decision. As he exited the ring, he went straight to his Mum, and handed her the trophy, and explained that his Mum was the most influential person in my his life and that this win was for her.
Mr Perica, who runs Jimi’s Boxing Club in Kapiti, said “Charlie worked really hard, stayed focused and paced himself. He deserves this win and we are happy to have the trophy brought home to Kapiti”. Charlie expressed the hope that his participating in the fight, it would challenge others to get out of their comfort zone and put their health first. “If I can do it, anyone can do it” he said.
— Salima Padamsey