Gooding’s title fight delay

Boxers Kirk Gooding and Gary Fox.

Boxers Kirk Gooding and Gary Fox.

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KIRK Goodings’ first English lightweight title defence has been switched to a bigger stage, with the Sunderland boxer’s bout now becoming part of Martin Ward’s world-title showdown later this month.

Goodings’ fight against Fishburn’s Gary Fox was due to top the bill of a night of boxing scheduled for the Rainton Meadows Arena this Friday.

But the late collapse of that show has had the unexpected spin-off of the Goodings-Fox clash now being added to the same bill which reaches its climax when West Rainton’s Martin Ward fights Darlington’s Stuart Hall for the IBF championship crown.

Ward and Hall meet in the ring on Saturday, March 29, at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.

It will be the first time two North East boxers have ever fought for a world title belt and the show has just generated major interest in the boxing world.

Goodings and Fox’s 10-round fight will now be part of that massive show and the third title fight on the bill.

But the end of the Friday show in Houghton means that other boxers scheduled to fight will not be so lucky.

The cancellation of the event, after several withdrawals through injury, proved fatal to a show already once postponed because it clashed with Sunderland’s Capital One Cup final game against Manchester City.

Sunderland promoter Phil Jeffries spoke of his disappointment today at having to call the show off but explained that he thought it was the only sensible thing in the circumstances he faced.

“I’m devastated,” he said. “It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly.

“I’m gutted and I feel as though I’m letting the lads down

“But I had a couple of pull-outs and I was down to five contests and that’s not enough.

“I pride myself on giving the fans value for money and that’s why I’ve been striving to put on 50-50 fights.

“But I could not charge people £35 and £55 for just five bouts, that’s not a show really, is it?

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to pull a show and I feel awful about it but there was no alternative.”

Martin Ward’s younger brother Tommy also had a fight pencilled in on the cancelled Rainton Meadows Arena bill - against Spaniard Saul Tejada - and that also has been switched to the Metro Radio Arena on the 29th.