Watch: Jake Meskell was ringside for Boxmania
By Matthew Taylor
A ‘heavyweight contest 12 years in the making’ topped the bill of Boxmania, an unlicenced ‘white-collar’ boxing event which attracted 4,000 fans to Nottingham Arena.
A number of semi-professional boxers took to the ring on Saturday (July 14) at an event which included a musical performance from American artist Fatman Scoop.
Boxmania was presented by Inspire Championship Boxing (ICB) in association with the Pythian Club to raise money for Splash Fit, a fitness charity.
Owner of ICB and creator of Splash Fit Sam Godfrey said: “I always enjoyed watching boxers advance into champions and fortunately we have created a brand that some of the UK’s best affiliate with.
“Moving into 2018 we knew we had to take this to another level and the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham has given us the platform to do this.”
Jody Meikle renewed his rivalry with former British cruiserweight champion Shane McPhilbin in the title card match billed as a ‘heavyweight contest 12 years in the making’.
And McPhilbin emerged victorious to cap the night off at the Arena.
Founder of the Pythian Club Ben Rosser said: “Boxmania was a positive thing for the community. Boxing, sport, brings people together – it brings communities together.
“It’s about offering positive initiatives, positive role models and having positive occasions like this.
“Boxing, as everyone knows, brings a lot of discipline; it brings fitness and our young people need to be getting out there and doing things that are more disciplined.
“This is about empowering our young people to be positive role models and giving them the tools to do something worthwhile and productive with their lives.”
However unlicensed boxing has its critics.
Marcellus Baz, founder of Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing, said in 2017: “In the unlicensed arena, the safety is not regulated by a governing body.
“Having accountability is imperative to adhering to the right kinds of safety.
“Unlicensed centres regulate themselves – they put people in weight classes where one opponent can be quite a lot heavier than their competitor and the experience can be varied too.”
When this was put to Mr Rosser, he said: “We’ve got thousands of people here having a really good time; a mixture of men, women, boys and girls of different faces and backgrounds.
“If something like that can bring all those kinds of different people together, in a harmonious, peaceful, safe way, then that’s really good.
“If that’s what unlicensed boxing brings, then I’m going to be behind unlicensed boxing.”
Boxmania insisted on fighters wearing regulation boxing gloves in an attempt to minimise the risk of serious injuries.