They're counting down the days in Northland to a fight competition aimed at stopping the high number of gang related shootings and murders in the community. "Keep it in the Ring" fighters are in training to ensure they're in form for what promises to be a premium sporting event.
Spokesperson Toko Hoterene says there's a lot of nervous energy in the preparations for the 20 fights on the card this Saturday, "Everybody is anxious, we're a bit nervous, my guys that are training with me they're looking forward to it. They are first time fighters even myself I still get a bit jittery when I get there and its action time. So we're looking forward to keeping it in the ring."
The key goal of this event is to put an end the high number of shootings and fatalities that have occurred in the year to date.
Toko says, "The last shooting five of them from the top of Kaitaia all the way through to where we stand today right here with our bro Moses. I can't wait for this to happen. What we're hoping to achieve is to show people that without fatally hurting each other we can sort our issues out in a controlled environment where we ourselves don't get hurt our families don't get hurt and the general public don't get hurt."
This call by gang leaders has created keen public interest since they met in Otangarei early last month to organise the event which is now sold out.
Toko says, "We've been getting a lot of positive comments but also a lot of negative comments. But at the end of the day the proof's in the pudding and like I said we're six days out I can't wait I'm looking forward to it."