Dagenham official appalled by antics
- Credit: Archant
Romford show abandoned after incident
Dagenham Boxing Club’s former chairman and ABA referee Keith Mills left Romford’s RUSSC club on Friday night a sad man, appalled by the antics of an angry mob who forced police to call off an international tournament.
The Romford v Scandinavian Select show was a sellout, but when a group of gatecrashers without tickets tried to storm in, angry scenes followed at the Mawney Road venue.
With some of the invaders reported to be carrying weapons, police were called and the tournament was promptly halted - ruling out some top clashes between leading London boxers and their Scandinavian rivals.
“It’s heartbreaking, so many people work so hard to keep amateur boxing alive yet the action of a few idiots can ruin everything,” said Mills, who runs his own plumbing company.
Dedicated Mills started at Dagenham as a 10-year-old boxer and stayed on to become a leading figure and now a respected ABA referee.
“You have to feel sorry for the Romford officials like Paul Claydon who worked so hard, spending thousands, bringing a team over from Scandinavia and it ends like this,” he added.
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Mills officiated as a dozen bouts took place before eight top contests were scrapped, angering the fans at the packed venue.
Also fuming were boxers including West Ham’s national champions Luke Saunders and Jordan Reynolds who has been in training for many weeks.
However ABA official in charge Ted Goreham backed the police intervention, adding: “They were correct calling off the show.
“If they had not stopped it, I would have done. You just cannot tolerate that sort of behaviour at tournaments, it’s terrible for the sport.”
Romford official Paul Claydon has worked regularly with Scandinavian clubs staging shows in the past and said: “They are great people - we are good friends.”
Shaking with anger he was quick to apologise to the Scandinavian team and RUSSC club staff and management.
“I have put on around 40 shows and never had any trouble before. It has cost me thousands of pounds and months of hard work to arrange this show,” added Claydon, who is still counting the cost of a night he fears could cause his club to fold.
Dagenham Boxing club are happy to confirm a sellout dinner show at the Prince Regent Hotel on Saturday, with 27 full tables of guests watching some exciting ring action.
Matchmaker Jimmy Bush lines up a promising bill involving the home club’s junior, senior and even female boxers against visiting opposition as Daggers return to the Chigwell venue.
National title winner Nicola Hudson faces Finchley’s Shannon Gourtney, with national novices finalist Marvin Lombi meeting Chris McKenzie (Fitzroy Lodge) and middleweight Adrian Lionel taking on George Smith (Strood).
Top junior George Landers faces Billy Joe Foster (Holland Park), talented Conor McNicholas meets Jay Mair (Chalvedon) and brother Daniel McNicholas meets Owen McGroary (Newham).
The Agius brothers, national champion Kerim and 31kg Tariq, are also in action on the club’s big night of the year alongside Louie Taylor, Freddie Hudson and Dan Landy.
Former members who have gone on to pro success, including world title challenger Kevin Mitchell and Commonwealth champion Tony Conquest, are VIP guests.
And enthusiastic Darren Rodwell will be joined in the audience by several other local councillors who have been club supporters for many years, especially Village ward Cllr Margaret Mullane.