Commonwealth games hopeful boxer tears hole in man’s cheek during village pub row

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A RISING boxing star left a reveller needing 50 stitches to his face, and possible lasting nerve damage, after a vicious attack in a village pub.

Martin Waller was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital with a hole in his cheek, and it is not yet known whether he will have lasting nerve damage after he was attacked by Amateur Boxing Association finalist Declan Fusco.

Fusco, who fights out of South Durham ABC, and hopes to compete in the Commonwealth Games, also struck Stephen Alban, who was enjoying a drink with Mr Waller at the Village Inn, in Easington, two days before Christmas.

CCTV footage from the pub was shown when Fusco appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

It showed a packed bar and Fusco talking to the two men before he hit Mr Alban, and then delivered a right hook to Mr Waller, knocking him to the floor.

Fusco, of Rydal Crescent, Peterlee, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Waller, and common assault on Mr Alban, on December 23 last year.

Prosecuting, Debra Jones said Mr Alban and Mr Waller were socialising when Fusco and another man approached them, and blamed them for causing an argument.

The group was seen on CCTV talking for a moment, before Fusco shakes hands with both men.

Mrs Jones said: “You then see him deliver a blow to Mr Alban, that’s the common assault, and then we see him punch Mr Waller.

“He was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, and received treatment for what’s effectively described as a hole in the cheek.”

Mrs Jones urged magistrates to send the case to be dealt with at crown court.

She said that Fusco being a trained boxer adds to his culpability.

Jaxon Taylor, mitigating, said Fusco first “slapped” Mr Alban with his left hand, and then claimed Mr Waller made a racial remark which, added to him being under the influence of alcohol, has made him “strike out, it’s been quite instinctive”.

He said it was suggested that glass on the floor may have caused Mr Waller’s injury, not Fusco’s blow.

Fusco will appear at Durham Crown court on May 22 and was given unconditional bail.