Night of fights with Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe

DONG, dong, dong. Ding, ding, ding.

Fred Brophy commands the attention of the crowd the same way he's done for 40 years.

He bangs a drum while his female fighter, 'The Beaver' rings a bell.

A hush falls over the couple of hundred people gathered before Fred's famous boxing tent at Noosa's Pirates Rugby Leage Club.

He gestures to the yellow banner stretched out behind him. On it are murals of some of his past and present fighters. He introduces each one.

Alexia Purcell

Many of them are third generation - they've been with Fred nearly as long as the fourth generation showman has been bringing the world's last travelling boxing troupe to towns far and wide.

Raised on the road and in the ring, Fred reportedly began boxing for money from age five.

His name is certainly synonymous with boxing.

And his travelling boxing tent the stuff of legends. 

The drum and bell stop. It is time to find out what this Sunshine Coast crowd is made of.

As long as your sober "we'll fight you," Fred declares.

"So who's the best fighter in Noosa?" he calls. And up goes a hand. A man climbs the ladder to stand beside Fred. He asks him about himself - what's his name, what does he do, has he ever fought before?

He does this to each man - eight in the end - who raises his hand, clearly working out which patron to match with which fighter.

The drum and bell start up again and then out come Fred's fighters. They climb a ladder and stand along the gangplank on Fred's other side.

They're an imposing lot in their black, red and yellow satin robes. Some with their hands already wrapped.

Alexia Purcell

Fighter and patron are paired and the crowd is invited to enter the tent to "see something they've never seen before, they will never see again, and something that will be talked about for years to come".

Eagerly we rush in.

These fights won't be set-up exhibitions, we've been told. They'll be the real deal.

And within seconds of the first round of the first match, this much is clear.


Fred's boxers work their opponents throughout the tag-team match, even dropping one to his knees with an audible ooof.

But never once - in all eight fights - are they nasty or unsportsmanlike.

With the less experienced opponents, his boxers even go so far as inviting them to hit them, allowing punches to land or glance off their gloves.

Alexia Purcell

One of Fred's fighters dances around his opponent, shimming his shoulders and pinching in and out before a punch is even thrown.

It makes the crowd laugh. 

This display of showmanship is what we've come for. We've come for a show and we've got a show. And unless you've seen it, you'll never see another show like it.

News Corp Australia


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