Boxing promoter Lynden Hosking was disappointed in the attention the use of ring girls received prior to last Saturday’s Battle of Bendigo at Bendigo Stadium.
“We have brought this wonderful event to Bendigo, with millions of dollars invested into the town,” Mr Hosking said.
“The focus should have been on the town and the event, not something as trivial as that,” he said.
Mr Hosking told the Weekly that he received fantastic support from council in the lead up to the event, in particular the city’s Major Events and Tourism Manager Terry Karamaloudis.
“The Bendigo brand, instead of being out there as a great place to visit, what it is now known for is this, which is the really disappointing thing,” Mr Hosking said.
The use of male ‘fight progress managers’ was done to make a point Mr Hosking said.
“We weren’t going to let the girls sit there all night. We wanted to highlight the ridiculousness of the situation,” he said.
The decision to dress the ring girls in respectful and classy attire was made by Mr Hosking and fellow promoter Dean Lonergan, with the dresses chosen by Mr Hosking’s wife.
“The focus should have been on the town and the event, not something as trivial as that. It won’t shape what we are doing moving forward,” Mr Hosking said.
The event was attended by a number of City of Greater Bendigo councillors, but not councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth, who posted on Facebook on Friday night her sentiments regarding the use of ring girls at a council sponsored event.
“Really? Ring girls? Standing in front of a council banner? It actually completely unravels everything that we have been working hard to change,” Cr Wrigglesworth’s post read.
Referring to the use of ring girls at last Friday’s fight weigh-in, Cr Wrigglesworth questioned why event promotion includes “young women standing like ‘prizes’ behind men?”
Whipstick Ward councillor Malcolm Pethybridge was ecstatic with the event’s success and said he hopes to get more events like it in Bendigo.
“The whole word was watching. I was proud to be there,” Cr Pethybridge said.
On the ring girl controversy, he said that he was there to watch boxing.
Cr Wrigglesworth using Facebook to publish what she described as her own views, is sure to draw the ire of council at large, with Cr Pethybridge steering clear of social media.
“I don’t write anything on Facebook. It’s not what we do. I’m here to promote Bendigo. I’m here for the people, not to promote myself,” Cr Pethybridge said.
Fellow Whipstick Ward councillor Andrea Metcalf also attended, as the council representative from the Bendigo Stadium Limited board.
“I thought the stadium performed extremely well. The event operated smoothly,” Cr Metcalf said.
Cr Wrigglesworth did not respond to requests for comment prior to deadline.
– NICHOLAS NAKOS