Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wear Can Be Fight Hotbed, Says Maloney; Boxing Promoter Knocked out by Support in City

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wear Can Be Fight Hotbed, Says Maloney; Boxing Promoter Knocked out by Support in City

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

FRANK Maloney believes Sunderland can be a "hotbed of boxing", if only it can produce venues big enough.

The promoter had never hosted a show in Sunderland before Tony Jeffries fought at the Crowtrees Leisure Centre in May. But Jeffries and Maloney will be back on Friday, at the Seaburn Centre, and the latter is already talking about another Wearside fight in October.

The man who guided Lennox Lewis from the Olympics to the top of the professional ranks has been instantly won over by the city's passion for the sport, and the quality of its boxers.

Maloney's whole North East strategy is built around Beijing bronze medallist Jeffries, a box office star after just two professional contests. But as this week's line-up is intended to prove, there is plenty of depth, too.

"I'm excited about it," Maloney said. "When Tony did that first show in Barnsley (his professional debut) I could see we could have some great shows in Sunderland. I looked at the top table when we launched this show and thought, 'Bloody hell, we have actually got the makings of a whole boxing business'.

"We don't have to put all the re-sponsibiliton Tony Jeffries - even though he's the figurehead because of his Olympic medal. Imagine Dave Ferguson and Danny Hughes meeting each other for a British heavyweight title fight in Sunderland, that would be brilliant. The Dickinson brothers (Birtley's Travis and Jon-Lewis) are great young fighters and Travis is in that mix with Jeffries, Darren Sutherland, James DeGale. There's a lot of excitement and the crowd are very important in that. I do believe Sunderland will become a hotbed of boxing."

Trevor Crewe, Chris Mullen and debutant Kirk Goodings are other locals on the bill.

Maloney had planned to stage this show elsewhere - London and Blackpool were considered - but having tasted the rabid Crowtrees atmosphere, Sky TV wanted more. Jeffries' contract guarantees two fights this year in Sunderland, and three in 2010 but already it looks like he might get more. …

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