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Graceffo fights at elephant fundraiser

Graceffo fights at elephant fundraiser

Having spent all week strapped on the back of a 3-ton elephant competing in the Hua

Hin King's Cup elephant polo tournament, American writer Antonio Graceffo stepped

away from the paddock to take part in an exhibition boxing match in the Thailand

seaside town's Grand Sports Stadium to raise awareness for the elephant's cause.

The King's Cup tournament, now in its fourth year, was competed by 14 teams drawn

from around the globe to raise money for the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre

(LECC) in Northern Thailand. With the initial forecast of raising 1.5 million baht

for the project looking likely to be exceeded, and a fantastic week's entertainment

had by all involved, the tournament has been a resounding success.

Phnom Penh-based Graceffo, who boxes part-time and has even starred in a recent Cambodian

kung-fu movie, strapped on his gloves in front of a packed crowd and gave a rousing

performance. In a closely fought three-round contest, Antonio was unlucky to come

out on the wrong side of a tight decision, but was happy to have accomplished his

mission of letting people know about the ECC's work. "Sometimes charity hurts,"

laughed Graceffo. "If I were Bob Hope I wouldn't have to do this - but I can't

sing or dance."

The next morning though, it was back to the elephant polo ground to try and help

his team of fellow journalists, sponsored by UK travel agency Kuoni, get through

the next round.

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