By Robert Lowe
Jake the Muss will be missing when actor Temuera Morrison makes his boxing debut, and so too will be the stunt men who drop from his punches in the movies.
Morrison, 52, will take part in a charity bout on the undercard of the New Zealand NBF heavyweight title showdown between defending champion Afa Tatupu and the up-and-coming Joseph Parker.
He's ruled out entering the ring in Auckland on Thursday night to the theme tune from Once Were Warriors, the 1994 film in which he won acclaim as the violent Jake Heke and for which he worked with former boxer Lance Revill.
"Lance made me look like a real tough guy, but that was all look," he said.
"This is kind of different. Normally, I knock them out with my singing voice, but I don't think my crooning is going to work this time, so I'll go for maybe a nice straight right."
Morrison, whose credits include Speed 2: Cruise Control with Sandra Bullock and episodes in the Star Wars series, said he was cajoled into the fight by persistent promoters.
But he also wanted to support the 21-year-old Parker.
"He will be challenging for a world title very soon and I'll have the privilege to say I was on Joseph's undercard," he said.
Morrison has been training for about an hour a day over the past three weeks and he was feeling in good shape.
"I'm losing that little bit of flabby stuff."
His opponent over three two-minute rounds was to have been DJ Mike Puru, who had to pull out after getting a fractured eye socket in sparring.
Puru's replacement is 53-year-old radio listener Boris Sokratov, who says he's had two fights in his life.
"One was in Standard Four with the school bully and the other was with my mum, and I'm one from two," he said.
"I lost to my mum."