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Category — The Contender

The Contender – Still Wondering If You Can Make A Successful Reality TV Show Out Of Boxing

Boxing in a competative reality TV show? I have to be honest I did not start watching it tonight with much enthusiasm. My first thought was why I am I watching a show where the guys are really not very articulate, but then I realised I do watch Australia’s Next Top Model, and really the quality of conversation on that show is pretty abysmal.

But first I have to say that the interview that host Charlotte Dawson gave to the Sun-Herald magazine yesterday about what she knows about men, was honest, emotional, inciteful and reflective. Unfortunately I cannot find a link to it online. Publicists should take note, sometimes a celebrity talking to a journo without spin can do more for your clients profile and their opinion of them.

Also didn’t Johnny Lewis get shot by a rainbow up his proverbial to get on a reality TV show to supplement his retirement income? I am still not sure what his role is – maybe just to add some credibility.

Josh Clenshaw immediately marked himself as a grade A fuckwit when he said there was no girls in the loft to cook and clean for him. So I hope he is eliminated quickly. Later on in the show he said he had split from his wife last year. Not surprised at all.

I loved the way one of the guys said there shouldn’t be any racism in the house and they all agreed, but they called the Sonny, the African guy, Jungle boy. Apparently it is not racist as the Jungle part of the ‘nickname’ means he is dense and thick. Right, do you get it as I don’t.

The boxers were split into a blue and gold teams, these had been pre-determined and were not random.

Things did start to get interesting once the challenges began. The first was running through an obstacle course on sand, and Sunny looked particularly unfit. The top four then had another run to do in bushland. Then there was a mental part of  remembering the numbers to open a lock to let off a balloon.

Charlotte kept on telling Ben he had the wrong numbers but he did not listen.

Garth Woods from the gold team won it, and he seems like a nice guy. He says he is in the show to get to a better place.

The first fight was between Josh and Israel, I could not work out how Israel was the one that was picked to box for the blue team.

I cannot make many comments about the fight but it did get more excting in the last round, and at least they edited all the boring bits out.

Israel lost the fight and Josh gets to live in the house another week. But Israel should take heart his kid was a cutie.

I am still not sure if I will stick out the whole series but will keep on watching for a few weeks.

November 2, 2009   12 Comments

The Contender – Here Are The Contestants

The Contender commences on Fox 8 this Monday November 2 at 8.30pm. I will be doing a recap, but don’t have my usual enthusiasm as I am not a boxing fan. Anyway let’s hope it surprises me, and I am a big fan of Charlotte Dawson.

Here is what the press release said:

An unscripted drama about the lives, fears and hopes of 14 professional super middleweight boxers, The Contender Australia follows these boxers (from Australia and New Zealand), as they compete for the chance to forever change their lives and the lives of the people they love.   

Following the great success of the U.S. series of The Contender, the first series of the Australian version offers the boxers the ultimate prize of a fight with Anthony “The Man” Mundine.

 Charlotte Dawson and Daniel Amalm host The Contender Australia and work beside boxing mentor Johnny Lewis and team trainers Paul Briggs and Billy Hussein, who all play a part in guiding the boxers through the intense training and the most challenging experience of their lives.  

Produced by Granada Productions, the series follows their journey and the challenges these boxers face in their personal lives and career, as well as provide insight to their fears and hopes. The highly stressful, tough competition will test their relationships with each other in and out of the ring.  

Introducing our Contenders: 

ADRIAN TAIHIA, 26, Sandringham, New Zealand. Described as a rising star in New Zealand, Adrian only started his boxing career three years ago and boasts an undefeated record.

 BEN McCULLOCH, 27, Sydney. This hot Australian prospect is enjoying the “intensity” and “adult” world of boxing. Only turning pro last year, with three fights under his belt his future looks bright having won all three, two by way of knockout.  

DANIEL MACKINNON, 25, Otorohanga, King Country, New Zealand. Currently the New Zealand middleweight champion, Daniel credits his left hook as his strength. In the ring, he likes to work out his opponent and says no matter what their style is he can figure it out and adapt.

GARTH WOOD, 31, Petersham, Sydney. Once voted NRL’s fittest athlete during his rugby league career, Garth only turned pro two years ago – a short but impressive start with five fights and four wins under his belt.  

ISRAEL KANI, 36, Noosa Heads, Queensland. This former super middleweight champion prides himself on his fitness and training and is always ready to fight and compete, joining The Contender to get a sense of how far he can go in the sport. 

JOSH CLENSHAW, 32, Mt Druitt, NSW. He may wear his heart on his sleeve but, with 42 fights and more than 286 rounds to his name, he has been in the ring with just about everybody and has experience on his side. 

JUNIOR TALIPEAU, 25, Cronulla, NSW. Turning professional four years ago, Junior has come a long way in a short time with an impressive 14 fights and 14 wins record under his belt –  winning the vacant Australian middleweight title and making six successful defenses.

KARIZ KARIUKI, 32, Blacktown, NSW. This softly spoken fighter prefers to do the talking in the ring with an impressive record of 18 wins, 17 of them by way of knockout, and is currently ranked 10th in the World Boxing Organisation ratings.

LES PIPER, 25 Carrara, Gold Coast. Les is the current Australian super middleweight champion and referred to as an improving fighter. He describes himself as a pressure fighter who has a high work rate and an aggressive and busy style.

 LUKE MOLONEY, 29, Reservoir, Melbourne. Often referred to as a pure boxer with great skills, Luke is currently ranked State champion and describes himself as more of a technician than a knock-out-style fighter. 

NADER HAMDAN, 35, Kingsgrove, NSW. Once a street thug and “out of control youth” who turned his life around with boxing, Nader is the only Contender to have already gone the distance with Mundine in a world title fight.  He turned pro at 20 and now at 35 he feels this is his “last shot”.


PRADEEP SINGH, 22, Boronia, Melbourne. Describing himself as “a nice man with a good heart” and priding himself on being healthy, Pradeep is religious about training for up to 17 hours a day.  

SONNI MICHAEL ANGELO, 24, Sydney. Described as one of the more outrageous personalities of Australian boxing, Sonni (“Jungle Boy”, from the Congo) has a style which has been described as explosive and unpredictable. He believes he is indestructible and someone who has defied all odds. 

VICTOR OGANOV, 32, Perth. Victor instills fear in his opponents with his professional career record of 28 wins all by way of knockout: an impressive record showing his talent and the lethal power in his hands.

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October 30, 2009   1 Comment

The Contender To Premier On Fox 8 on November 2


I have never been a fan of boxing nor have I seen the overseas version of The Contender, a reality TV show about boxing. However the Australian version, hosted by Charlotte Dawson starts on November 2 on Fox 8. Charlotte who is a highly entertaining judge on Australia’s Next Top Model should be a very capable host of the show which is based on a masculine theme.

What I would like to know is this reality TV show for blokes or will girls watch it because there will be buffed bodies on screen? I will be doing recaps on the show here.

Also in Foxtel news:

  • Project Runway Australia will have a third season;
  • Australia’s Next Top Model will start filming early next year; and
  • Lifestyle channel will have episodes of the show Come Dine With Me;
  • Apparently there will be an Australian version made of the show Shear Genius, this was going to be made this year but was delayed; and
  • Ruby Rose will host an Australian version of Fame – The Ultimate High School Musical.

October 25, 2009   2 Comments

New Reality TV Shows to Hit Our TV Screens in the Future.

TV executives have been in Cannes on a buying trip at the annual MIPTV program sales market in Cannes, France. Why are these events never in unglamourous places like Liverpool or Blackpool?

The Guide in the SMH said that both Channel seven and ten were both interested in Britain’s Make Me A Supermodel. Apparently the format is similar to Project Runway and his hosted by Rachel Hunter. The article doesn’t say whether they want to buy the program or the format to make a local version.

The other reality show I’ll Do Anything is being examined by Channel 9 and Foxtel. This is a musical theatre talent show that follows the search of two actors to play Oliver and Nancy in Oliver.

The issue for this show is finding someone local to back the theatre production. Kookaburra productions, or maybe Richard Pratt if a small part could be found for him.

While the TV channel work out those deals one show that is going to be made locally is The Contender. This series will search for a boxing champion and climax in a super middleweight clash between the winner and Anthony Mundine. This show will be on Foxtel.

Bets will be taken now to see how many former footballers will turn up on the show.

Channel Seven is also trying to improve (I use the word ironically) its reality tv content by casting for a new series of Temptation Island.

This show tests the fidelity of couples by sending them sexy singles to tempt them. Apparently whether the show will go ahead will depend on the quality of the couples and the singles cast to test their relationships. Interested go to and apply by April 27.

April 16, 2008   Comments Off on New Reality TV Shows to Hit Our TV Screens in the Future.