Sheffield’s lord mayor has reacted in typically unpredictable style after being challenged to a boxing match – by suggesting a mixed martial arts (MMA) showdown instead.
That’s according to Magid Magid's would-be opponent Dave Ogle, who surprised the mayor by throwing down the gauntlet at last week’s full council meeting.
The independent member of Ecclesfield Parish Council issued the challenge to highlight the campaign for a community boxing gym within his High Green ward.
Mr Magid has yet to respond publicly, but Mr Ogle said the mayor had been in touch to ask whether he would consider going toe-to-toe under MMA rules.
“He asked if I would consider an MMA match but I think amateur boxing rules would be more appropriate as I’m part of a team trying to set up a community boxing gym," said the 50-year-old Army veteran, who now runs his own security firm.
“He has youth on his side and he’s a big, powerful lad but his background’s mainly MMA and he hasn’t got a chance in the boxing ring.
“I don’t want to embarrass him, I just want his help to highlight the huge difference a boxing gym would make in our neighbourhood so we can get the council onside.”
Mr Ogle has been trying for five years to establish a boxing gym in High Green, where St Vincents Amateur Boxing Club runs pop-up sessions every Thursday at Thorncliffe Sports Club.
He believes it would help instil a sense of discipline and drive in young people, reducing crime and antisocial behaviour in the area, which he says ranges from petty vandalism to muggings.
He knows personally the difference boxing can make to young people’s lives, having been ordered to take up boxing following a minor indiscretion shortly after joining the Army as a young man.
“It really helped me because it gets your aggression out, helps you control that excess energy we all have as young people and lets you learn from your seniors how to act responsibly and respectfully,” he said.
“I think a boxing club could do the same for some of the young people who are causing havoc around High Green.”
Mr Ogle believes the Miners’ Welfare Club would be the perfect venue but claims he has been frustrated by a lack of support from the council.
The Star has contacted Mr Magid regarding the challenge but has yet to receive a response.