THE long-running Doncaster Lions dinner boxing show has been delivered a knockout blow by the recession.
The event, which has raised thousands for local charities over the years, was due to be held at the Dome at the end of the month.
But Lions’ officials were forced to pull the club due to poor ticket sales.
“It’s a big blow to the local charities who have benefited over the years and it’s a big blow to the Plant Works Amateur Boxing Club,” said veteran coach Ken Blood.
“It has been one of the biggest amateur boxing shows in the North of England, you used to get around 800 at the Dome, and everyone at the club wanted to box on it, as did boxers from far and wide, because it is so prestigious.
“But, as everyone knows, we are in a deep recession and firms which previously bought a table of ten, are having to cut back and numbers were down last year.
“It’s a shame because I had another cracking bill.
“I’ve always tried to put on a dozen or so top bouts over the years because if people are paying £40 or so for a ticket you’ve got to try and give them value for money to keep them coming back year after year.”
As well as charitable causes losing out, Ken says his club, which is only a few years off celebrating its centenary, will also suffer a knock.
“It’s fair to say that the money (a four-figure sum) the club has received from the Lions for staging the boxing has been a financial lifeline over the years,” he told The Star.
To help offset some of the loss, Ken says the club plan to stage another show at Rossington MW in March “Hopefully we’ll make a bit of money from that like we did from a show there earlier in the season which was a sell-out,” he said.
Other than the disappointment surrounding the cancellation of the Lions show, Ken is very upbeat about the health of the sport in the town.
“There has definitely been a boost from the Olympics,” he said. “We’ve had a dozen or so new youngsters coming down. I think the fact that the Games were held in this country, and that our boxers did so well, has inspired a lot of youngsters all over the country to take up the sport; they all want to be champions.
“As well as numbers being up at our club, there has also been a new club formed in Balby.
“In addition to the Olympics, boxers in the Doncaster area have also been inspired by Jamie McDonnell, who is set to fight for the world title next year.
“The fact that he started as an amateur at Hatfield, and boxed at places they box at, inspires some of them to think that they could be a champion one day if they work hard.”
The club, who haven’t seen senior numbers boosted by the Olympics in the same way, take youngsters from ten upwards.
“We do sometimes take them a bit younger but they can’t box until they are ten and even then it’s against someone of the same age,” said Ken.
“It used to be 11 but they started boxing a year younger in Scotland and the ruling applies to this country now.”