THE professionals won't be the only ones displaying their skills and boxing prowess in Bendigo on Saturday.
Away from the bright lights of Bendigo Stadium, where Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa will headline a huge professional-boxing showcase, 40 emerging amateur fighters will do battle hours earlier at the Hit Factory Boxing gym in Golden Square.
They will be competing in the inaugural Hosking Cup, an event named in honour of Bendigo's former six-time Australian amateur champion and 1996 Atlanta Olympian Lynden Hosking.
The tournament will pit 20 of Victoria's best regional boxers against competitors from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales.
Hit Factory Boxing head trainer and coach Danniel Burton said a highlight of the event would be the appearance of five Australian title holders, including former Bendigo girl Carly Salmon.
"She is last year's 50kg Australian champ and is taking on a former Tasmanian, who is also an Australian champ," Burton said.
"Exciting for us is Milli Woods from (Hit Factory) is stepping up to elite (level), even though she is only 16 and is going to give about 10 years away in age to fight her sparring partner, who is the current 48kg Victorian champ.
"Sammy Kay (also Hit Factory) is fighting (pro-boxer) Shannon O'Connell's son. Shannon is fighting on the Battle of Bendigo card. He's had about 20-plus fights and will fight at 44kg."
The Victorian brigade will hail from town and cities across the state, including Gisborne, Shepparton, Coleraine and parts of Gippsland.
Burton said he was honoured to name the event after Hosking, who competed in the men's welterweight event at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and won bronze at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
"He is in all likelihood the most accomplished amateur boxer to come out of Bendigo - six national titles, Olympics and Commonwealth Games - and he still loves the boxing and is heavily involved," he said.
"Speaking with him, I know he still loves amateur boxing, where it's not about money, but just about getting in the ring and having a crack. So we're glad to have an annual event and honour him.
"It's a great lead in to Saturday night."
The action hits-off at noon at the Hit Factory Boxing gym in Allingham Street, Golden Square. Doors open at 11am.
All bouts will be three-rounds, with a mix of time limits.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at hitfactoryboxing.com.au
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