Carl Froch gives thumbs up to spectacular boxing show

GIANTS OF THE RING -- world champion Carl Froch (right) and ex-British campion Shane McPhilbin get the night under way.
GIANTS OF THE RING -- world champion Carl Froch (right) and ex-British campion Shane McPhilbin get the night under way.

When Carl Froch gives a boxing event the thumbs up from the hands that won him world title fights, you know it’s a success.

And so it was with a spectacular show staged by the thriving Hucknall-based St George Amateur Boxing Club (ABC), in conjunction with Hucknall Round Table (HRT), last Friday night.

Four-times world champion Froch (36), who hails from Nottingham, was the special guest at the show, which was held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in the city.

Chiefly, it was a special event to mark the 55th anniversary of HRT, with all money raised going to local charities, including some in the Dispatch district.

But the show was also poignant for St George because it was the first they had held since the tragic death in February 2012 of their head coach and guiding light Paul Singleton, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 52.

With another local star, former British cruiserweight champion Shane McPhilbin, of Bulwell, acting as master of ceremonies, the night was a sell-out.

And for their £50 tickets, the crowd were treated to 12 close-fought and entertaining contests, plus an auction of sporting memorabilia.

One of the highlights of the evening featured St George captain Mark Underwood (23), who was given the honour of starring in the main bout.

Underwood, who only tackled his first fight a year ago, put in a solid performance to stop the game Chris Wallace, of Kettering ABC.

The St George man started fast, unleashing strong left hooks, and kept up a high pace, causing damage to Wallace’s nose.

In the third round, Underwood kept his opponent backed up, forcing the referee to jump in and retire the Kettering fighter after advice from the ringside doctor.

The Hucknall man was duly awarded the best senior of the night award and is now looking to challenge for one of the area belts in May.

Also on the bill was highly-rated St George youngster Christagie Charalambous (14), who produced a classy display against Joe Burridge, of Birmingham.

Christagie used his powershots to good effect and stayed out of danger with quick footwork and terrific head-movement.

He didn’t have it all his own way, with Burridge trying hard to break down his defence, but all the judges awarded him the verdict to earn the award for best junior of the night.

The best bout of the show featured St George’s David Weightman (27), who was making his debut against Michael Harty, of Kettering ABC.

The action wasn’t pretty, but two big, 80kg lads stood toe to toe for three rounds, unleashing powershot after powershot that sent the crowd crazy.

Harty was awarded a close verdict, but Weightman can take a lot of pride from his first bout.

Overall St George’s current head coach, Clint McPhilbin, was delighted with how the show went.

Now McPhilbin is looking forward to the next one, which is to be held at the George Street Club in Hucknall town centre in May.