One of the difficulties of living and working in Darwin is finding stuff to do on a Saturday. I don’t get home from work until mid-afternoon and at that point I’m keen to pack as much into my one-day weekend as I can.
I wasn’t too fussed about returning to the Tio stadium for some more Aussie Rules football, or as it’s more simply known over here, ‘footy’. However, I’d read in a mid-week newspaper that there was some boxing going on so we thought we’d give that a go instead.
The venue was the Portuguese and Timorese Social Club in nearby Marrala. Apparently Portugal owned East Timor for about three hundred years up until the mid-seventies. Perhaps the social club is for those who hark back to the days of colonial rule. Marrala is a quiet area and $35 in a taxi outside of Darwin. We paid another $25 for tickets on the door.
As we were there well before the first bout there were plenty of tables and thankfully most of them had fans above them. It’s warm in Darwin, although as people delight in telling me, nowhere near as warm as it’s going to be.
At one end of the building was a bar and unlike at the footy it was selling full strength beers. I asked the barman for a recommendation and he advised a Corona. I hadn’t come all this way to drink Mexican beer though, although in light of my surroundings I might have been tempted by something Timorese. Maybe even a Portuguese Superbok to bring back memories of the Boro’s trip to Lisbon ten years earlier.
Fortunately the bar also had plenty of Australian beers, all around the 4.7% mark. I can’t remember which ones I tried but they all went down better than the 3.5% selection I’d sampled at the TIO Stadium the previous week.
There were eight fights on the amateur bill, starting with a walkover at 38kg where the ‘winning’ lad still had to put the gloves on and climb into the ring to receive his trophy, up to a 91kg heavyweight fight.
Each bout was Queensland (in red) v Northern Territories (in blue). All of the boxers were introduced with a brief outline of age, heritage, how long they had been boxing and what their other interests were.
More often than not they professed to spend their spare time fishing and taking it easy. In their position I wouldn’t have been able to resist declaring a liking for something like cracking skulls and embroidery.
There were some very good bouts, including one between the two female boxers on the bill. Fight of the night though was an unscheduled 3 x 1 minute rounds contest between a four year old and his five year old brother.
The younger of the two would begin each round by charging across the ring and then they’d spend the minute exchanging blows with the familiarity of kids who beat the shit out of each other every day of the week.
It was all over in good time and by half past nine we were outside in the car park waiting for a taxi. The air was full of flying beetles, similar to the dung beetles in South Africa, but smaller.
Sometimes they made a whirring noise as they flew through the air and at other times a crunching sound whenever we accidentally trod one into the tarmac.