BOXING tent owner Fred Brophy waits at his camp with a lamb curry simmering on the fire.
It’s a Monday afternoon in the outskirts of Mount Isa and he sits in a camping chair with a beer, speaking to his long-serving helpers who soon prepare for boxing tent shows during the rodeo festivities.
Mr Brophy keeps checking the television tuning into the racing channel from a distance. “Is that the Darwin Cup?” he asked. “I’ve got a horse on that.” His money was on Lieder, which had starting odds of $7.50.
He offers the reporter a light beer, and a good spot by the fire. Then he yarns about his boxing tent, and how much his boxers love fighting bouncers.
Mr Brophy is also no fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but first had to check the acronym by asking round the camp. “I call it Kentucky Fried Chicken,” he said when confirming it was UFC. “That’s what I call it.
“That’s not boxing. That’s like deep frying someone and we love them blokes.
“They say ‘I’ll do this Kentucky chicken or whatever. I say ‘no worries’. My blokes will do it back to them. And you know what? Not many of them have walked out of my tent and said they have beaten any of my blokes.
“So that’s what I think of your KFC or UHF or whatever they call it.
“That’s not boxing, mate.”
The outback was still a good place to find challengers for the boxing tent, although they were more likely to be found “off the bitumen”. Often the worst fighters were bouncers, he said.
There’s no shortage of willing Brophy fighters coming to Mount Isa this week to fight. Kalkadoon fighter Kolby Johnston returns, as does Kojak, the Barramundi Kid, Black Venom, Afro Savage, and Slippery Sam.
His boxers loved taking on the local challengers. “They are like a horse going to a horse race. They say ‘I’ll have that bloke, I’ll have that bouncer there. It’s like giving them a feed.
“Sometimes I spoil them and say ‘tonight you can fight two at once instead of one. They love it too. It’s like giving them a steak.”
Fred Brophy’s Boxing Tent will be based in the car park between Isa Hotel and Red Earth, starting during the Isa Street Party on Wednesday night.
There was no room for the tent at Buchanan Park, Mr Brophy said. So the show remains at the same site every night until Saturday. He was also considering another show on Sunday.