Grafton boxer Zac Cotten (right) with supporter Jordan Kroll in the foyer of The Melbourne Pavillion, Flemington minutes before three people were shot at the venue.
Grafton boxer Zac Cotten (right) with supporter Jordan Kroll in the foyer of The Melbourne Pavillion, Flemington minutes before three people were shot at the venue. Facebook

Local boxer's close call in Melbourne's deadly shootout

BOXING: No more than 10 minutes after Grafton boxer Zac Cotten stepped out of the ring after losing by unanimous decision, the night at The Melbourne Pavilion was turned upside down.

Gun shots rang out across the foyer of the Kensington establishment on Friday night as one man was killed and three others injured in what has been described as a coordinated attack.

Cotten was sitting out in the dressing rooms, with supporter Jordan Kroll, after his four-round bout with Melbourne's Waleed Haddara, and said he had not heard the shots initially.

"We rewatched the event on the live stream online and you can hear the four shots, but we heard nothing out the back," Cotten said.

"It would have only been 10 minutes after my fight. We were out the back and people just kept coming in to grab their things and leave.

"I was only just out in the foyer five minutes before that. We were so lucky we had gone out the back."

Police and paramedics swarmed the Melbourne Pavilion at about 10pm. One man was found dead when officers arrived and two others had suffered gunshot wounds.

No one is in custody.

Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon from the Victorian Police Homicide Squad told reporters yesterday that officers were "extremely disturbed" by the brazen nature of the attack.

He said there were "quite a number of shots" fired and police believed it was a targeted attack.

"At this point in time, we have not identified those responsible ... we have not identified the motive, however the information we have gleaned so far makes us confident this was a targeted attack," Detective Solomon said.

Cotten's fight against Hadarra, a former convicted criminal and member of Melbourne's Haddara crime family, was the last bout on the seven-event card before the main event WBA Oceania cruiserweight title fight between Kane Watts and Jayden "Plugger" Joseph.

Despite the disruption, the night continued on with the main event bout, but Cotten and Kroll left midway through thye final bout.

Cotten positive despite unanimous loss

As for his fight with Haddara, Cotten managed to take his undefeated opponent to the limit in their four-round bout.

But he could not pull enough punches to sway thye judge's decision in his favour, with ringside officials awarding a 40-36 unanimous decision in favour of Haddara.

The one-sided loss takes Cotten's professional record to 0-3-1 from his four fights, but the 23-year-old said it was his best effort in the ring yet.

"All three judges scored me losing each round, but I'm over the moon with how I went," he said.

"I couldn't have asked for anything better apart from a win but I'm glad I got to show off my fitness and went the distance.

"I pushed him to the limit as well. We had words at the end of the second, got in each other's faces but after the fight we were all good.

"He's a top bloke out of the ring, and it was good to have a good hard war against him."



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