TEENAGE boxer Bayley Ford fears he will never fight again after being hit in the eye by a metal hook in a freak accident at the gym.
The 14-year-old was training at the Leigh Park Amateur Boxing Club when an unsecured hook supporting a punching bag swung down and caught his left eye.
He was rushed to hospital and had to have an operation.
The youngster’s eye has been left badly damaged and Bayley was told he will never box again.
His mum Rachael Ford says more should have been done to prevent the injury, but the club’s coach, Peter Vince, has called it a ‘freak accident’.
Bayley was hoping to compete in the Schoolboy Championships next year, but as a result of his injuries is unable to continue with training.
He said: ‘I’m absolutely gutted about it.
‘I’m not going to be able to fight any more and it’s the end of my boxing career.
‘We’ve not had an apology from the club yet and I’m not happy with it being called a freak accident.’
Mrs Ford fears another child could be injured if such an accident were to reoccur.
She said: ‘The bag he was using was taken down but there were others just like it still hanging.
‘I now want to make other people aware of the situation.’
The club, which has been running for 40 years by volunteers, is being reviewed by Havant Borough Council to determine the cause of the incident.
Stuart Wedgbury, services manager of environmental health, said: ‘We’re aware of an accident and we are investigating the matter but have not yet completed that investigation.’
Mr Vince, the club’s coach, insists those who attend the boxing club are in safe hands.
He said: ‘We run a safe facility and I’m totally confident that those we are responsible for are in very safe hands.
‘If we are made aware of unstable or damaged equipment, we address the issue immediately.
‘In my personal view, what happened to Bayley was a freak accident, but I deeply regret he has been injured and I have extended my apologies to him and his family.
‘We will be doing everything we can to prevent this from happening in the future, and in my 33 years in boxing this is the first accident I have experienced as a coach.’