A LATE knockout blow has been delivered to the boxing show scheduled for South Parade Pier tomorrow night.
The bill, which had a host of local favourites lined up to appear in front of a passionate home crowd, has had to be cancelled.
Safety fears for the pier, which forced Portsmouth City Council to close the facility earlier this month, contributed to the decision – although part of the Southsea venue has now reopened.
And while a new stage for the popular event had been found at Fareham Leisure Centre by organisers Millbank Promotions, the decision was taken to cancel to show altogether.
The news will come as a massive blow to boxing fans on the south coast, who were treated to an action-packed, adrenalin-fuelled night the last time the professional event was held back in September.
Then, the likes of Floyd Moore, Joel McIntyre, Danny Couzens, Mark Coombs and Ryan Moore all clocked up wins to make for an exciting bill for the near 1,000 spectators in attendance.
But now the Moores, Couzens and Liam Griffiths will have to wait for their next outing following the decision to cancel the show at late notice.
Local trainer Michael Ballingall admitted the news has frustrated those expected to line up on the bill – which also originally included Sam Couzens’ super-middleweight British Masters match-up with Sheffield’s Wayne Reed.
But he believes new arrangements will be made to ensure the return of the event in the future.
‘A lot of money has been lost following this decision,’ said Ballingall.
‘It’s a major setback to professional boxing in the city.
‘A lot of hard work went into organising it and there’s a lot of ticked-off people now – including the boxers themselves – but we won’t be giving up.
‘We’ll not be looking at staging the show at South Parade Pier again, but will be looking for other venues.’
Ballingall added: ‘The Boxing Board of Control couldn’t wait any longer for assurances that the pier would be safe.
‘And although a new venue was found, the move meant it was going to be a smaller bill.’