Organized violence is becoming a popular method to reduce murder rates…

An organized clash between rival gangs inside a boxing ring is being hailed a big success as locals call for the event to be held annually. The rival gangs faced off against one another in 20 one-one-one boxing match-ups with 12 different gangs being represented throughout the night.

While the idea of using combat sports to reduce violence seems absurd to some, evidence continues to mount that it is an effective method to reduce gang-related assaults and murder.

Police Presence at the Event

The gangs involved were all from New Zealand and the event itself was held in Whangarei, the Northland Region capital. Police were on-hand throughout the event to ensure the fights remained restricted to inside the ring.

“Throughout the night, an increased number of patrols were in the CBD. It was a usual Saturday night in the city centre. The weather was poor and a number of bars closed early or did not open at all.”

Police reported there was no extracurricular fighting at the event and all participants showed good sportsmanship. This was the case despite the recent string of gang-related violence in the area.

Violence to End Violence

Member of the “Black Power” gang, Tokomauri Hotene, had this to say regarding the festivities:

“I don’t care about going home with a bit of blood on me. I’d rather that than going home in a box,” he told Fairfax news agency.

Boxing has long been used as a way to reach troubled youth with a tendency towards violence. Several studies have shown that youth crime rates drop when an athletic outlet is available for kids to participate in.

This is particularly the case for young males, though not exclusively so. The popularity of boxing and other combat sports is growing amongst young women as well.

The New Zealand gang community aren’t the only ones hoping organized fights can reduce street violence. Last month, we reported on the “Street Beefs” organization which uses controlled violence as a way to prevent murders and assaults with weapons. The organization’s mission statement is as follows:

STREETBEEFS is dedicated to stopping senseless killings in streets by giving angry beefing enemies a safe controlled place to fight and agree to squash the beef with the respect earned for stepping into SATANS BACKYARD! We believe with the proper training networking and global reach we can make a STREETBEEFS in every city nationwide and put an to senseless killings over reasons that can easily be remediated by properly trained STREET BEEFS STAFF.

WATCH: Gangs Face Off Inside the Boxing Ring 

While these are amateur fighters, they produced some entertaining bouts.

Head Hunter gang member vs. Black Power gang member:

Stormtrooper Outlaw gang member vs. Head Hunter gang member:

Mongrel Mob gang member vs. Mangu Kaha gang member:

How far this event will go towards bringing peace amongst the gangs remains to be seen but it appears progress was made.

Perhaps in time, organized combat sports will become a more popular method to reduce street violence. While fans of boxing and MMA already know their value towards preventing violence, mainstream society might be slower to adapt.

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Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.