Thompson Fight to Raise Funds for

Dragons vice-captain Lance Thompson will take the passion he displays on the rugby league field into the boxing ring for the first time next month to raise money for charity.

Thompson, 25, has agreed to a heavyweight contest against Husson ?The Big Eagle? Smajlagic as a curtain-raiser to two title fights at the Badgery Pavilion, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, on Friday, December 12 and has undertaken special training at the Rockdale PCYC.

Thompson?s fight will be a feature event on the ?Jeff Fench Fight Night? program, starting from 7pm (doors open 6.30pm), and will be televised live on Fox. Australian Nader ?Lionheart? Hamden will fight James ?Hot Ice? Tooney for the Commonwealth title on the night; while Vic ?The Raging Bull? Darchinian will contest an official IBF world title elimination bout against former Thai world champ Wonde Chor Charion.

Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said Thompson had requested approval to participate in the one-off event because it was a great opportunity to raise money for the St George Foundation and the Children?s Hospital at Randwick.

?It is an unusual activity for a professional rugby league player to undertake, but Lance is very committed to working on promoting goodwill in the community and the Dragons wanted to assist him where possible,? Doust said.

?Earlier this year he set up an Incentive Program where he donated some of his salary to help junior rugby league players in the St George area.

?In addition, the boxing training he is doing and the professional coaching he is receiving, give us confidence that he has little risk of being injured or that anything will happen to prevent him fulfilling his NRL commitments with the Dragons in March.?

Thompson said he had always enjoyed boxing for fitness and had dreamed of getting in a boxing ring one day.

?It?s not often an opportunity comes along like this, so I am very grateful to the Dragons for letting me fulfill one of my ambitions,? he said.

?More importantly, such a high profile event like this should enable me to raise a significant amount of money for the St George Foundation and the Children?s Hospital, who need the support more than ever at this time of year, leading into Christmas.

?Obviously my priority is being fit, healthy and injury-free for the start of the Dragons 2004 campaign mid-March, but I have every confidence in my trainers that this fight will have no impact on my rugby league career.?