By Liam Napier
The female boxer who won two light-welterweight world titles had to fork out $5000 to get into the ring last Thursday night.
Australian Arlene Blencowe - fighting on Joseph Parker's undercard in Auckland - won a convincing 10-round points victory over Kiwi veteran "Diamond" Daniella Smith to secure the WIBA and WIBF titles.
Blencowe was called up six days before the bout and had to lose six kilograms to make the required weight after compatriot Sarah Howett pulled out due to a wrist injury.
After Blencowe's emotional triumph her trainer, Jason Harris, revealed to Sunday News that their camp had paid for flights, accommodation and fight fee - costing them $5000.
On the same card, two dwarfs - both first-time fighters - each collected over $5000 and Smith is understood to have been paid at least $2000 by fight promoters Duco Events.
"We paid our own way over and we didn't get paid to fight," Harris said. "It's upsetting. The promoters said they couldn't afford it after [paying] the sanctioning [fees]. I'm not sure of the exact details. In the end we didn't get paid to fight and we paid our own air fares.
"We used it as fuel; every bit of it. It's cost us $5000. She's [Blencowe] a personal trainer. We've lost wages at work as well. But she's a two-time world champion . . . It's worth $10,000.
"These opportunities don't come up very often, so we jumped at it. Going into it, I knew Arlene was the better athlete. Daniella is tough, comes forward and doesn't take a backward step, but Arlene's got heart. As a fighter that's what gets you to the 10th round."
Duco Events promoter David Higgins defended the decision not to pay Blencowe.
Higgins said Duco had to pay sanctioning fees to boxing authorities and claimed Blencowe's camp offered to pay their own way to secure the chance to fight for the world titles.
"They said they would cover their own purse, air fares and accommodation," Higgins said. "She [Blencowe] wanted a shot at the title and she was willing to pay her own way. I have a lot of respect for that. She won the title. It was quite poetic. It was their doing. They offered the fight and I took it.
"For the trainer to be whingeing about it now is sour grapes. It's not as unusual as you think. The undercard purse is normally a few thousand but the sanctioning fees are a few thousand."
Blencowe, who had a 27-fight amateur career, and almost made the Olympic Games, felt the cost of gaining a rare shot at a world title was worth it.
"To have these two belts around me I'd pay lot more than that," she said. "We knew what opportunities financially this would open up. That's a risk we had to take.
"I didn't get paid for any of my amateur fights. I love the sport. I love fighting. It's not about the money."