PHIL Jeffries’ Summer Rumble boxing show has been hit by a string of injuries and late withdrawals.
But the Sunderland promoter has managed to make his headline fight even more of an attraction by lining up a clash for a British title belt.
Sunderland boxers Jonson McClumpha and Lee Mould had both been due to fight for Northern Area titles on the Stadium of Light bill on Sunday, July 13.
But McClumpha’s opponent, Horden’s Greg O’Neill, has been forced to pull out at short notice this week with personal problems and Fishburn’s Gary Fox, who was due to fight Mould for the Northern Area light welterweight title, has suffered a hamstring strain which sidelines him.
It’s a massive headache for Jeffries, so close to the show, with Newbottle-born, Wynyard-based Lynden Watt adding to the anguish – the light-heavyweight a late withdrawal citing weight problems.
But the promoter has managed to pull one out of the bag by clinching a British Masters middleweight title fight for McClumpha, whose new opponent will be Doncaster-based Jason Ball.
And Jeffries says that he is delighted such a deserving character as McClumpha has at least got a fight to savour.
The promoter told the Echo: “This is Summer Rumble 4 and, of all the shows I’ve put on at the Stadium of Light, this has definitely been the most stressful with three boxers pulling out in the space of a few days.
“But I’m absolutely delighted that Jonson is now fighting for a British Masters title – it hasn’t been cheap to organise but Jonson deserves his chance.
“He’s a true professional and already this year he has had the disappointment of being ready for several fights only for them to be cancelled late on.
“When I told him the Northern Area title was off because of Greg’s withdrawal, Jonson just said: ‘Fine, can you just get me a fight though, any fight, so I can still be on the bill?’
“That’s the sort of lad he is.
“And it’s great that instead of fighting for a Northern Area title he actually has a British Masters now in his sights.”
Mould’s place on the bill has also been preserved, with a derby fight being lined up against Newcastle’s John Watson at short notice.
In addition to that, the lengthy bill will also feature the comeback fight
fight of Sunderland’s Prizefighter champion, Glenn Foot, as well as the professional debut of two-time Cameroon Olympian, the now Sunderland-based light-flyweight Thomas Essomba.
Jeffries sighed: “It’s a great show made even better by the fact there’s now a British Masters title on the line, but, honestly, you wouldn’t want to be a promoter in these circumstances!
“The ticket sales are going brilliantly and I’ve got no doubt that it’s going to be a great day, but it’s a good job I’ve got a strong ticker because the stress levels have been through the roof trying to make sure the show goes on. That won’t matter on the day, though.
“On the day, it will be all about a string of good fights, a great day for North East boxing fans and that’s what makes the effort worthwhile.”
Tickets for the show are available from the boxers themselves or from Jeffries on 07747 611020.
H Ricky Burns feels he is ready to add new facets to his fighting when he makes his comeback tomorrow.
The Scot faces unbeaten Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin in an official eliminator for the WBC lightweight title, and The 31-year-old said: “I think the more fights I get, the more improvements you will see.”
“The training down there has been going great and the sparring has been good. Everyone in the gym is great.