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UK Boxing: Darlington Show Cancelled; VIP Boxing Promotions

Dennis Hobson Promotions regret to announce that the forthcoming ‘Nemesis’ show, due to take place at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre on March 9, has been cancelled. The promotion, which was to be headlined by Commonwealth bantamweight champion Stuart Hall, has officially been pulled due to visa problems relating to Stuart’s slated opponent, Ghana’s Isaac Nettey.

“I’m devastated for the boxers and the fans,” stated promoter, Dennis Hobson.

“The show was obviously based around Stuart, but his opponent had been messing us about since we’ve been putting the card together.

“We did a deal but they wanted more money, and then they wanted to change the date. In the end, we’ve been waiting for their medicals and visas but they haven’t got them back in time.

“Consequently we haven’t been able to get a replacement at this short notice and have had to do something I hate doing, which is pull the show.

“I’m hugely disappointed; I don’t like pulling any show, and there are a lot of kids that have worked hard. The ticket sales were good as well so it’s a real shame.

“Stuart will be gutted, but we’ll get him on a big bill in the near future, hopefully on the forthcoming Amir Khan show, or Jamie McDonnell’s world title bill.

“We’ll definitely be back in the North East soon; there’s some really good talent up there and I want to play a part in developing it.

“Again, apologies to people that have bought tickets and were looking forward to the show; refunds will be available from the original source.”



Steve Wood isn’t one for hyperbole. In the game for over 20 years, the Manchester-based promoter has a reputation as someone who delivers, while leaving the histrionics to others.

Wood, though, has such belief in his current crop of fighters that he is prepared to buck the trend and make a bold prediction.

“We started 2013 with three British champions [Brian Rose, Kevin Satchell and Kenny Anderson],” stated Wood, “but should have eight by the end of the year, which is over half of what’s available.

“Of course, it’s going to be a real challenge, but at VIP Promotions we have one of the best stables in the country and with the quality in the camp I believe we’ll achieve our target.”

Salford-born Steve’s love affair with the Lonsdale Belt started a decade ago. A mad dash – involving planes, trains and automobiles – to watch VIP’s favourite son, Jamie Moore, win the British light-middleweight strap ignited the passion, and Wood has been hooked since.

“I was in the Isle of Wight,” recalled Steve, “and had to quickly jump on a ferry, flight and then car to get to Liverpool after Jamie got a late call to fight. After the show I was straight back on the 6am ferry to watch my lad play football; but it was all worth it to see Jamie win.

“Moore ended up winning seven British title fights and we’ve had plenty of domestic champions since. I just love the history of the Lonsdale Belt and the pleasure it gives fighters and their families. At VIP we try to plan a route so the boxers get one for keeps once they’ve won it.”

Becoming British champion is no easy task. It’s every boxer’s dream to win the coveted title and, from big bruisers to small scrappers, the competition to hold the Lonsdale Belt aloft is fierce. It’s rare, then, for any promotional outfit to have contenders at most weights but, with over 70 fighters under the VIP roof, Wood has an ace in the pack for every division – bar one.

“We already have the flyweight belt-holder in Liverpool’s Kevin Satchell,” detailed Steve. “The plan is to move him onto Europe after a couple more defences; then Merseyside twins, Phil and Anthony Smith, are ready to step in.

“At super-flyweight, Scouser Mike Robinson has been unlucky in the past with decisions, but with a full training camp he can get to the top; while at bantamweight our former British champion, St Helens’ Gary Davies, is back in the gym, and Ryan Farrag is also a real prospect.

“Everyone knows about talented Liverpudlian ‘Jazza’ Dickens, he’s boxing for the English super-bantamweight crown on March 30, and afterwards we would definitely put him in with either Scott Quigg or Carl Frampton if they haven’t moved on.

“Just to show there’s no Merseyside bias, our English featherweight champ is Josh Warrington from Leeds! Josh’s first defence is on March 22 and, after a couple more; he’ll be ready to move up. We also have former amateur star, John Quigley, who is looking really good.

“Another Yorkshireman, Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes, was going great guns as British champion before he lost to Gary Buckland in 2011. Sykes is lined up for the English on March 15 and we’ll then look for a rematch with Buckland and a chance to win the belt outright.

“I’m really confident lightweights, Prizefighter winner Terry Flannigan and Hull’s WBC International Silver champion Tommy Coyle, would beat current British ruler Martin Gethin; and at light-welter we have Shayne Singleton who will hopefully be VIP’s next English number one after he boxes Curtis Woodhouse on March 8. We also have Nathan Brough who looks special.

“British welterweight champion, Frankie Gavin, is obviously extremely talented but Heywood’s Mark Thompson and Bolton’s undefeated Rick Godding both want a crack at him. While at light-middle, VIP’s British champion Brian Rose will move upwards soon and his gym-mate, Blackpool’s Jack Arnfield, is ready to step into his shoes.

“A couple of Celtic fighters are in the mix at the next two weights. Wales’ Kerry Hope has been European middleweight king and is now ready for the domestic crown he overlooked; and Scotland’s Kenny Anderson relinquished his super-middleweight British title earlier this year but will definitely beat the winner between [Paul] Smith and [Tony] Dodson to get it back. Accrington’s British Masters champ, Luke Blackledge, is also going to have a massive impact at super-middle.

“At light-heavyweight, veteran Courtney Fry is really looking the part at 37, and we’d like to match him with English champ Bob Ajisafe for the British as soon as Tony Bellew vacates.

“Lastly, Southport’s Mike Stafford could be VIP’s next British king. We’re hoping the Board approve him to fight for the cruiserweight title against Jon-Lewis Dickinson in April,” revealed Steve, “and, if it happens, we’re confident he can get a victory.”

Almost a full house, the only gap in the VIP deck of cards is with the really big guys. The pinnacle in boxing is to have a heavyweight champion, and Steve is still searching for that Holy Grail. With two local heavies, Liverpool’s David Price and Manchester’s Tyson Fury, currently heading the domestic scene though, Wood hasn’t given up hope that a talented big man will walk through his door.

“I’d love one; that’s everyone’s dream isn’t it – to have a really good heavyweight? We’ve got a Lithuanian heavy [Paul Drago] who’s promising, but he’s obviously not British! I’m really happy with how things are at VIP though; we’ve got fighters at the top in every division and have a good crop of young boxers coming through beneath them, so the future looks really bright.”

Keep updated on VIP Promotions’ news by visiting or follow on Twitter @vipboxing, and on Facebook. Currently, you can also watch free fights at and on the VIP YouTube channel.

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