Olympic hopeful boxer walks free from court after punching hole in man’s cheek

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A BOXER who punched a hole in a man’s cheek has walked free from court.

Olympic hopeful Declan Fusco, 22, got a suspended sentence after Durham Crown Court heard he was remorseful, has spent five weeks in prison on remand, and more jail would prevent him attending an important boxing camp.

Prosecutor Rebecca Brown said trouble flared in the Village Inn, Easington, two days before last Christmas.

“There were about 50 people in the pub,” added Ms Brown. “The defendant is described as being agitated, pacing up and down the premises, looking for a fight.

“One of the customers, Stephen Alban, asked Fusco to calm down, telling him it was nearly Christmas and people should be enjoying themselves.

“An argument developed between the two men, and despite Mr Alban apologising, the defendant threw a punch.

“It didn’t fully connect, brushing Mr Alban’s cheek.” Moments later, Fusco struck Martin Waller.

“It was a quick, efficient and effective punch,” said Ms Brown. “Mr Waller was knocked to the floor. He suffered a cheek injury which he later said medical staff were able to put their finger through.

“He went to Peterlee drop-in medical centre who transferred him to Sunderland Royal Hospital for surgery.

“The wound needed about 50 stitches, both inside and out the mouth.”

Fusco of Rydal Crescent, Peterlee, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and common assault, on December 23.

Jane Waugh, mitigating said: “This assault didn’t arise out of nothing, he heard words offensive to him, although he doesn’t know who said them.

“Mr Fusco has a promising future as a boxer, and he hopes to attend a camp on June 26 which could put him on the way to a place in the British team for the Olympics in 2016.”

Fusco was given 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, a 12-month supervision order and 100 hours of community work.