Usher Hall boxing show is ‘just the beginning’

James Nelson, Phil Coppola, Brian Forsyth and Bradley Welsh

James Nelson, Phil Coppola, Brian Forsyth and Bradley Welsh

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The Usher Hall will be packed to the rafters three weeks on Friday as boxers from some of Manchester’s finest amateur gyms make the trip north in a bid to shackle their Edinburgh counterparts.

The latest event, which will be run at the beginning of next month, follows on from last year’s hugely successful Edinburgh versus Glasgow show where the Capital pugilists duly outperformed their opponents to claim a comprehensive victory.

However, as promoter Bradley Welsh has a fraction over 21 days to put the finishing touches to the next event in the series, he disclosed his attentions are already fixated on hosting an event of a much greater magnitude later this year.

“Edinburgh hasn’t got a boxing public so I am trying to create one,” Welsh, a former boxer himself, said. “The whole ethos is to put on a sporting event that will basically nurture the boxing public to enable them to get behind these amateur guys.

“We’ve got a delegation coming from the Edinburgh City Council next month and what we are trying to do is build this up to something bigger this year which is hopefully going to be Edinburgh Castle.

“Amateur Boxing Association Scotland wants to bring huge events to Edinburgh. We need to use this to show the people of the city and the relevant governing bodies that this is the kind of event we want to bring to the Castle.

“With the help of Irvine Welsh, it would be either Chicago or the return of London who fought here in Princes Street Gardens (2011). It’s possible we could perhaps go to the EICC as well (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) in the future so it’s not about Bradley Welsh, it’s about providing entertainment.”

The reaction from some quarters of the sport’s alternative delegates haven’t always proved favourable with some questioning the legitimacy of what Welsh emphasises is now a recognised charity. His enthusiasm, however to “empower” and “inspire”, two words he uses regularly, cannot be disputed.

He said: “I’ll ask the question again, like I did last year, ‘will there be another sports event in Edinburgh this year that will have over 2,000 people there other than the football or when Scotland plays rugby’? The general public don’t care about the politics, if you’re part of Boxing Scotland or Amateur Boxing Association Scotland or whatever . . . it’s sport, it’s not owned by anybody and it’s for everybody. It’s about matching our guys.

“We’ve got a team of 18 boxers which includes children and again we have picked selectively to represent the different areas of Edinburgh. The Manchester lads will undergo a medical when they come up and then they will receive an Amateur Boxing Association Scotland medical card. We’ve now got our registered charity status and everything is in place. It will be another cracking night.”

There are only tickets available in the upper circle (£10-15) left for Edinburgh versus Manchester on Friday, April 4 at the Usher Hall. They are available at outlets including Replay, Excel, G-Star, Ripping Records or the Usher Hall Box Office.