Hard-hitting boxing night in Fareham raises cash for charity – and passes off with no trouble

A huge crowd turned out to back a charity boxing night which was stopped from taking place at a Portsmouth leisure centre.

Shane Wright 
PR Handout - Free to use
Shane Wright PR Handout - Free to use

The evening had to be delayed by two weeks and was shifted from the Mountbatten Centre to Fareham Leisure Centre after a small section of the crowd became involved in a disturbance at a mixed martial arts event last month.

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Jon Leonard, who runs Ultra Events, was determined it would go ahead in the area not least because of the ‘fantastic support he has received in the city in the past.’It meant Mr Leonard and his team had to ‘pull out all the stops’ to find an alternative venue at such short notice.He said: ‘We worked really hard to ensure the event in the Portsmouth area went ahead tonight.‘The people of Portsmouth have been fantastic over the years we have been staging events in the city and we wanted to pay back their support by making sure tonight's boxing event took place.‘Participants had trained really hard for two months to take part and we wanted them to have a brilliant night raising money for charity in front of their friends, families and colleagues. ‘The amount the people of Portsmouth have raised for Cancer Research UK by taking part in Ultra MMA and Ultra White Collar Boxing Events over the years tells its own story - a total of £140,067.‘We've had a great night in Fareham and I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who turned out and supported us both in and outside the ring.’

One of the bouts

The evening's top fundraiser was 34-year-old Sam Watkins, of Stroud Green Lane, Stubbington, who raised almost £1,500 on her own.

She said: ‘I have loved every minute of the training and the bout. I am going to miss the people I have trained with, I've made a great group of friends through UWCB.

‘The training is intense, but it's so good and you can feel the difference in your fitness from the start to when you get in the ring.’

Also taking part in the showcase event was Michael Hasler, of Elmore Avenue, Lee-on-the-Solent.

Sam Watkins' friends and family

The 35-year-old said: ‘I had really low self-confidence before I started training for the UWCB event, but it has really helped me as a person - I am so much more confident now.

‘All I used to do was sit around on the sofa not really doing anything. This whole experience has also been really good for my fitness as well. I can really feel how much healthier I am now.’

Vocal family and friends packed Fareham Leisure Centre to cheer the boxers on, including Terry Miles, whose son Andy was taking part.

The 57-year-old, of Howard Road, Hilsea, said: ‘This is my first time at an Ultra event, but it is great. The atmosphere is brilliant and the bouts have been really good.’

Michael Hasler

Kelly Scott, 38, of Gosport, added: ‘It was such a shame the venue was changed at the last minute, but the way they have pulled it all together is brilliant. It's such a good night.’Following the fracas last month, all boxing and MMA events were cancelled at the leisure centre run by BH Live for Portsmouth City Council.A spokesman for BH Live said: ‘There is no ban on boxing events in our venues.’He added that the ‘difficult decision’ to postpone the next few boxing events at the Mountbatten Centre and Pyramids Centre was taken pending an internal review.

Those wanting to take part in the next UWCB event in Portsmouth on September 7 can sign up by going to https://www.ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/portsmouth/

Training for the next event starts July 15.

Sam Watkins at the Ultra White Collar Boxing event at Fareham Leisure Centre
Action from the Ultra White Collar Boxing event at Fareham Leisure Centre
Michael Hasler, left