BOXING couple Stuart Sweeney and Leanne Dodsworth are hoping to be a knockout at a charity fight night.
The pair will be among a host of fighters battling it out at the White Collar Boxing event at the Rainton Meadows Arena.
After spending weeks training for the event, they are now counting down the days to fight night in April.
Mechanic Stuart, 26, from Easington Lane, said: “I know the lad who organised the event through work and I decided to get involved.
“It’s something I’ve never done before. I did boxing when I was 11, but nothing like this.
“I’m nervous, none of us know who we’ll be fighting on the night, but I’ve trained hard for it and I’m going to be in the best shape possible for it.”
His girlfriend Leanne, 27, from South Hylton, said she decided to put herself forward for the bouts – where participants wearing 18oz gloves and headguards battle it out over three, two-minute rounds – after another female fighter had to drop out.
“At first, I went along to the training to keep fit, but I really got into it and when someone had to drop out I jumped at the chance to get involved,” said the mum-of-one. “I know not many women do it, but it was just something I felt like doing. It’s something different.”
Organiser Nigel Oxman, from Cleadon, said 18 boxers, with no previous experience of the sport, will be taking part.
“We’ve had a really good response and hopefully we’ll raise a lot of money for charity,” said the 36-year-old. “We’ve got people aged from 20 to 43 taking part, from mechanics and salesmen to fashion designers and housewives.”
Money raised at the event will go towards sending underprivileged youngsters to a boxing camp.
It will also be helping a five-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer in his bid to raise £40,000 for life-changing surgery.
Little Ben Elliott uses a wheelchair and is in need of an operation in America, not available on the NHS.
Mum Julie and dad Steve said the surgery would stop all their youngster’s pain and stiffness, as well as help him walk.
Julie, of West Moor, North Tyneside, said: “The campaign is going really well and hopefully the boxing event will move us event closer to our target.”
To buy tickets or get involved in the White Collar Boxing event, which will take place at Rainton Meadows Arena on April 1, call 07947 147337 or 07533 656063.
For more information about Ben’s appeal or to make a direct donation, visit his Facebook page, Ben Elliott’s Footsteps, or email firstname.lastname@example.org