Sunderland boxers bash Newcastle opponents for charity

Boxing Promoter, Nigel Oxman (centre) with, Steven Lynn and Grant Dixon

Boxing Promoter, Nigel Oxman (centre) with, Steven Lynn and Grant Dixon

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MACKEM boxers gave their Geordie opponents a bashing at a fund-raiser inspired by the bravery of a young cerebral palsy sufferer.

Fighters from Sunderland battled it out with rivals from Newcastle as part of the bouts to help Ben Elliott, six.

The youngster has had his life transformed after undergoing surgery in America.

His step-dad Nigel Oxman, 38, from Cleadon, spent months organising the Box for Ben white-collar fights, which will help fund further treatment for the schoolboy and other sufferers.

A bumper crowd cheered on Gentoo learning development officer Lee Collins, 26, from Silksworth, 38-year-old businessman Steven Lynn, from Grangetown, who owns SJL Brickwork, and 27-year-old joiner Grant Dixon, from Seaham.

“None of the fighters knew who they were fighting until they came out for the parade at the beginning of the night, which added a bit more excitement to the event,” said Nigel.

The fights, which took place at the Lancastrian Suite of the Federation Brewery, in Dunston, Gateshead, raised £9,515, with Sunderland winning two of the three bouts.

“Grant fractured his ankle only three weeks prior to the event and was heavily strapped up on the night,” said Nigel. “His heart sank when he found out who he was fighting.

“The biggest lad of them all, John ‘Reach For The Skies’ Atkinson, stood at over 6ft 4inches and had a three-stone advantage.

“The first round went to the Geordie, but come the second he was starting to tire.

“Grant took full advantage and went on the offensive.

“The final round, Grant easily out-boxed his opponent and, roared on by his 70 followers, took the decision with a majority verdict.”

Nigel said he has been overwhelmed by the support for Ben, who underwent the operation in September after a £50,000 fund-raising drive.

He had selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery, which is not available on the NHS, at the St Louis Children’s Hospital, in Missouri.

Nigel, who owns the Oxman Cars dealership in Roker, said the procedure has moved Ben, of Killingworth, North Tyneside, a step closer to walking unaided.

The next fund-raiser, Box for Ben Part Three is taking place on September 29. For details or to get involved, call 0794 714 7337.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho