A mini-riot involving members of the crowd who invaded the ring brought shame to Sheffield boxing.
On what was otherwise an enjoyable night of boxing, supporters of rival fighters leaped through the ropes after Park Hill super bantam Uzair Najib, 23, had been stopped, first round, by Burngreave’s Muheeb Fazeldin, 22.
There had been bad blood between the pair in the run-up to event, headlined by Beighton’s Ross Burkinshaw, who KO’d Belgian Benjamin Smoes, also in the first round.
And that ill-feeling exploded into violence among fans, who stormed the ring and threw punches at each other. The ring announcer screamed for calm, saying the contest would be disqualified if peace was not restored.
Promoter Dennis Hobson also told the crowd he would not represent any boxer in the future whose fans brought disorder to his shows. “If you want to sort something out, do it outside, not in here,” he told them.
Afterwards Hobson said those responsible had been trying to steal some of the limelight from the professional fighters. He added he’d already spoken to a British Board of Boxing supervisor and pledged that it can never happen again.
The violence should not overshadow some of the pulsating matches that were on offer to a big, mainly well-behaved crowd at the Octagon Theatre. And it certainly should not distract anything from Burkinshaw’s achievement in becoming a double champion.
‘Ross the Boss’ simply walked through Smoes, putting him down twice. His work was over in the first round (2:46,) adding the WBO European title to his Commonwealth bantam belt.
Burkinshaw’s ring entrance had been pure theatre: walking in to the tune of ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate, a song linked with the film The Full Monty. His powerful left hand secured a fifth straight win.
He told The Star: “I was listening to Ryan (Rhodes, trainer) and he was saying don’t rush it, take your time. So that is all I did!
“I kept him on my jab then I caught him with a little left hook. I didn’t put much power in it, and I saw him wobble. So I threw it again and he went down. But I didn’t think I’d connected good enough. Boom - it worked.”
He said the belt was just as meaningful to him as the Commonwealth.
“Each belt takes me a step closer to the world title that I want. If the world title comes I will take it with both hands.”
The Fazeldin v Najib match had promised to be another tear-up with both men getting some cracking shots in. But in 2 mins 25 second it was over, Fazeldin’s power was too much and he was installed as new Central Arena champion at superbantam.
Lewis Taylor, from Dronfield, stopped Georgian George Kandelaki. Undefeated flyweight Waleed Din, 22, KO’d Khvicha Gigolashvili from Georgia in the second round. Sheffield super bantamweight Pharys Nassa, 20, was stopped in the firt round by Calum Baptist of Lincoln. Bantamweight Loua Nassa, 19, beat Aivaras Balsys, a 30-year old from Lithuania
Super bantamweight Ramzy Nassa, 21, beat Malkhaz Tatrishvili,a Georgian journeyman.Light heavyweight Nicolie Campbell, 23, bt Mark Till from Stoke. Sheffield lightweight debutant Razaq Najib outpointed Harvey Hemsley, Bristol.
And another debutant Kyle Yousaf beat Anwar Alfadli.
*See a video of the crowd disturbance on the boxing section of our website.