Portsmouth is back in big time

Joel McIntyre
Joel McIntyre
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Big-time boxing is returning to Portsmouth.

The professional game is making a comeback in the city after a 17-month hiatus, with a bumper bill featuring the area’s emerging talent to take place on October 15.

Mark Coombs, Joel McIntyre, Paul Morby and Floyd Moore will all be in action as they make their way in the paid ranks.

And they will be joined by the likes of Wayne Goddard, Liam Griffiths and Alex Gibbons on a card jam-packed with local talent.

News of the show at Liquid nightclub injects momentum into the scene locally.

It will be the first pro event staged in the city since the retirement of Tony Oakey in May last year.

Local trainer Michael Ballingall is the driving force behind the show and believes it marks an exciting development for boxing in the area.

Ballingall said: ‘This is a big deal and it’s really exciting.

‘Since Tony Oakey went, it has gone a bit quiet in Portsmouth.

‘But we’re trying to build things back up.

‘We want to do the city proud and get the boxing bandwagon going again.

‘We think we can build the profile up, with boxing as popular as it is around here.

‘The show will be a big occasion and a big atmosphere – like the Portsmouth people always create.

‘We have some exciting boxers and there could be the chance for a couple of them to go to the next stage if things take off.’

Ballingall believes the influence of Oakey and respected local cutsman Frankie Hopkins will have a big impact ahead of the October show.

He said: ‘Both Tony and Frankie Hopkins are involved.

‘They’ve got experience which will help the lads.’