Bitter Ingle Fights on for Safety Checks ; BOXING
Alan Hubbard Boxing Correspondent, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Paul Ingle was never a gloved galactico. A shaven-headed pigeon fancier from Scarborough, he was perhaps typical of the less glamorous side of the rough trade. A fighting hard-man brought up on a tough council estate who looked the part of a journeyman, he was good enough to acquire one of the baubles that now pass for world titles in boxing.
It is almost six-and-a-half years since the then 28-year-old "Yorkshire Hunter" stepped into the ring at the Sheffield Arena to defend his International Boxing Federation version of the featherweight crown against the South African Mbule Botile, a fateful fight that was to change his life and also the course of British boxing. Clearly drained and dehydrated by making the 9st weight limit, Ingle was knocked down in the 11th round and again in the 12th, this time lying unconscious on his side for several anxious minutes before being rushed to Hallamshire Hospital. There, two hours later, a blood clot was removed from his brain.
Ingle survived. He did not die as a result of ring injuries, like other British boxers such as Johnny Owen, Steve Watt, Bradley Stone and James Murray; nor did he suffer paralysing brain damage like Michael Watson, or remain confined to a wheelchair like Gerald McClellan.
He overcame a speech impediment and learned to walk again, albeit with difficulty, as his balance and movement have been affected. But the most hurtful wound he has suffered, he says, is that the phone doesn't ring. Ingle is the man boxing forgot. "Someone once said to me, 'Paul, when you finish, you'll be forgotten'," he said in a BBC interview. He added bitterly: "I never believed them but I do now. Everyone's just shut the book and forgotten about me, yet I like to think I was a really good fighter."
Indeed he was. Twice an ABA champion at flyweight, his one other defeat in a 25-fight professional career was against Naseem Hamed, an 11th-round stoppage after he had put the Prince on the floor when challenging for the World Boxing Organisation featherweight title in April 1999. Two years earlier, he had beaten Colin McMillan to win the British featherweight title and became the IBF champion with a unanimous decision over Manuel Medina in Hull, which he successfully defended against Junior Jones at Madison Square Garden in April 2000, his last contest before facing Botile. …