CALLS were today made for a crackdown on unlicensed boxing matches in the Capital after a bout staged at a nightclub was followed by violence outside the ring.
A melee broke out at the City venue in Market Street during a six-round fight on Friday, with a boxer leaping through the ropes to join in.
A number of boxing events not officially sanctioned by the sport’s governing bodies have been held in nightclubs and hotels in Edinburgh recently. Many venues are allowed to host the sport under their public entertainment licences.
Now members of the boxing world are demanding council chiefs take action to properly regulate so-called “white collar” fights before “someone gets badly hurt or killed”.
Licensing chiefs today said it was time to examine whether more “oversight” was needed.
Edinburgh boxers Derek McGovern and Andy Noble were facing off in a light middleweight contest – organised by KO Promotions – when McGovern jumped into the crowd after one of his supporters was accosted at the ringside.
Former champ Bradley Welsh, who runs Holyrood Boxing Gym, posted footage of the brawl on his gym’s website to press for greater regulation of white collar contests.
He said: “It was a disgrace to the sport with the Commonwealth Games just round the corner, but this event had nothing to do with real boxing.
“The boxers involved in white collar are not training at proper gyms and it’s organised by people who don’t understand boxing. They throw together untrained people in unlicensed bouts, without proper insurance, and that’s inherently dangerous.
“White collar events were already giving the sport a bad name, and incidents like this demonstrate why proper regulation by the council is needed. The council has no clue about the reality of what’s going on.
“A nightclub is also a terrible venue for a match, with people drinking heavily. The council have to take action before someone gets badly hurt or killed.”
Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of the licensing sub-committee, said: “We’ll have to look at whether these events need to be licensed with more oversight.”
On its Facebook page, KO Promotions said it was “fully insured and sanctioned” by the World Kickboxing Association Scotland, not a boxing body.
McGovern himself posted a comment under the video footage on the Holyrood Boxing Gym site, branding the ringside violence a “disgrace”.
Noble described the night as a “joke”. He added: “I feel I was boxing really well and was doing what I was told then people had to ruin it outside the ring.”