A capacity crowd packed the Bay Hotel in Kinghorn on Friday night as Kingdom Boxing Club staged its annual fundraising dinner. Former Sky Sports ring announcer Craig Stephen added a touch of glamour to proceedings as fans were treated to 11 bouts with local boxers taking on fighters from clubs across Scotland.
And with national coach Mike Keane in their corner, it proved a successful night for the hosts, with seven victories and just three defeats, while Kirkcaldy’s Chris Fleming picked up the Best Boxer prize.
The 48kg schoolboys were up first with Ryan Murray from the Sparta Club in Grangemouth, and Kingdom’s Kieran Horne both making their debuts in the ring over three 1.5 minute rounds.
Horne, a Kirkcaldy High School pupil, gave as good as he got, connecting with combinations in the third round as he put his opponent on the back foot.
However, the judges came to a split decision, awarding the win to Murray, who also boxed well.
Fight two was another schoolboy contest, again between two ring debutants, as Zion Brownlie, from the Logan Boxing Club in Ayrshire, took on Kingdom’s Andrew Smith.
The fight was dominated by the Kirkcaldy lad with Brownlie forced to take a standing count in the third and final round.
The judges came to a unanimous verdict and Kingdom BC had its first victory of the evening.
The third contest saw Kingdom’s Daryl Gray - backed by a vociferous home support - take on Ryan McCreadie from Midlothian BC.
Gray turned in a powerful performance, forcing his opponent into a standing count in each of the three rounds, and leaving him with a bloodied nose after a huge right hand in round two.
The result was never in doubt as the judges scored a unanimous decision in favour of the Kirkcaldy boxer.
Fight four, a light welterweight contest, saw a split decision victory for Galashiel’s Aqeel Aziz over Kingdom’s Huzzi Majid, but the local club bounced back in bout five, with Kirkcaldy middleweight Alex Mackay accounting for ring debutant Richard Wisely from Clovenstone BC, again via a split decision.
Next up was a junior bout featuring Kingdom’s Aidan Grubb and Declan Roose from McTaggart Scott (Midlothian), but Roose was forced to retire in round two after becoming unwell in the ring, which handed the victory to the Kirkcaldy boxer.
The seventh bout of the evening was a super-heavyweight exhibition between two Kingdom fighters, Fraser Scott and Nathan Levers, due to their scheduled opponents pulling out at short notice.
Punches were landed in between smiles as the two club mates slugged it out, with judges scoring the entertaining contest as a draw, although it would be fair to say that Levers, a Scottish internationalist and national champion, appeared to get the upper hand on the less experienced Scott.
Bout eight was over before it started as Kingdom middleweight Peter Adams took care of Ryan Malcolm from Bannockburn inside the opening 30 seconds of round one with the referee forced to call a halt after a flurry of punches from the home fighter left his opponent in a daze.
Kingdom’s Chris Fleming was next into the ring as he completed his trilogy of match-ups against Aidan Gemmel from the Irvine Vineburgh club.
After victories in their two previous meetings, Fleming made it three out of three over his rival with an energetic performance that earned him a unanimous decision, and the Best Boxer trophy.
Next up was the penultimate bout of the night with Kingdom’s Sean Matthew taking on Kuba Wnuk from Clovenstone BC in Edinburgh.
The closely fought light-heavyweight encounter was a real crowd pleaser, and was reflected in the judges scorecards with a narrow 3-2 split decision in favour of the Kirkcaldy man. The fight was also awarded Best Contest of the evening. Last up was top of the bill clash between former Scottish champion Robbie Connor, of Bellahouston BC, up against home favourite Paul Smith, a former British Army champion.
Despite a valiant effort, Smith was unable to get the better of his taller opponent and a shake of the head at the bell said it all, with Connor announced as the winner via split decision.
Overall, the night was a roaring success for Kingdom BC with some vital funds raised for the club.
A club spokesman said: “There was a great atmosphere with one of, if not, the best crowd I have ever witnessed at an amateur boxing show in over 20 years.
“The capacity crowd sportingly cheered on all the boxers and there was not one ‘boo’ throughout the evening.
“We would like to thank everyone who bought tickets, sponsored bouts, entered the £5 in envelope raffle with the winner receiving £350, and to everyone who bid for the autographed Anthony Joshua glove, with all the proceeds going to the club to help us to continue the work we are passionate about.
“Also a big thanks to all the visiting boxers and coaches who helped make this such a successful evening.”