knocked-out! - Derry unfit for professional boxing

The Parade Ground and lighting installation at Ebrington Square. (2902SL14) Photo: Stephen Latimer.
The Parade Ground and lighting installation at Ebrington Square. (2902SL14) Photo: Stephen Latimer.

PLANS to stage a professional boxing promotion in Derry have been scrapped after the city was declared an ‘unsuitable’ venue due to health and safety concerns!

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) has refused to sanction a proposed promotion in Derry as it would jeopardise boxers’ welfare because of the city’s distance from the nearest neurological unit.

An application had been made to host a show involving WBA Intercontinental champion, Paul McCloskey and Irish titlist Eamonn O’Kane at The Venue in Ebrington next month to coincide with the City of Culture celebrations.

It would have been the first professional boxing match to be staged in Derry since Charlie Nash’s win over Andre Holyk in 1979 - however, the BBBC’s ruling has since put paid to those plans and to any future professional boxing events in the city.

Under the rules of the BBBC the proposed venue must be no more than an hour from a hospital with an approved accident emergency and neurosurgical unit, as well as having a neurosurgeon on call in the event that a boxer may sustain a serious head injury.

As the closest suitable facility to Derry is the Royal Victoria Hospital which, in a ‘blue lights’ situation, would be in excess of 60 minutes, the BBBC have stated it will refuse to certify any further applications for professional boxing match to be staged in the city.

The BBBC claimed it was particularly ‘worried’ about the emergency time factor for a critical injury transfer between Derry and Belfast.

John Campbell, the N. Ireland Area Secretary for the British Boxing Board of Control last night confirmed that the Board’s Medical Advisory Committee have recommended that The Venue is not suitable due to its location.

“The proposed show, thereford, is not feasible giving due consideration to the health and safety of boxers and cannot be sanctioned by the N.I. Area Council, under the auspices of the BBB C.

“On the advice of the doctors, staging a fight in Derry would put boxers’ health and safety in danger, therefore it was agreed that this promotion wouldn’t go ahead,” he said.

“As it stands Derry is too far away from the nearest neurological facility. The organisers would need some kind of provision for a neurological unit.

“There’s been an awful lot of hard work put into trying to make this happen, I can assure you, but unfortunately it has been ruled out.

“On the assessment of the doctors - which included somewhere in the region of 12 doctors who were consulted in the matter - they felt that, from a health and safety point of view, it just wasn’t acceptable.

“I’ve checked out The Venue and it’s fantastic and you couldn’t ask for much better, but from a health and safety point of view for the boxers it’s just not feasible.”