Professional boxing will be returning to Preston Guild Hall next year.
It has been several years since the iconic venue staged a fight night but on February 28, some of the North West’s top talent will be showcasing their skills.
Rising Preston middleweight Mick ‘The Hammer’ Hall will be one of the star attractions along with Southport light heavyweight Mike Stafford and welterweight Shayne Singleton, who is from Colne.
All three are trained by Preston’s ex-pro fighter Karl Ince, who has been the driving force behind the bid to stage boxing back at the Guild Hall.
He has been in discussions with the venue’s new owner Simon Rigby, who bought the building earlier this year.
The pair have managed to thrash out a deal which should see boxing become a regular event in Preston.
Ince – who has worked as a cornerman for former world middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe and Chorley’s ex-world title contender Michael Jennings – is delighted that all his hard work has paid off.
He said: “In the past we have tried to get shows on at the Guild Hall but it hasn’t happened because the charges to hire the venue out have been ridiculously high.
“But Simon Rigby has taken over and he has been prepared to sit down with us and do a deal. He wants to move forward with it in terms of getting local talent back at the Guild Hall.
“He’s very happy to stage professional boxing – and amateur boxing as well. We are buzzing because it’s been my dream to get boxing back at the Guild Hall – that’s why I have come back to Preston and set up my gym in the city.”
Ince – who won eight of 13 bouts during his career – trains his fighters at his gym at Lewth Farm, in Catforth.
He believes the people of Preston will come out in their droves to support the event.
“Preston has always been a fighting town,” Ince said.
“I’ve had so many people come up to me over the years asking me when we are going to get boxing back in Preston?
“I am pleased to say it’s happening and we are going to have a number of local fighters on the bill in February.”
Former Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club-trained boxer Hall warmed up for next year’s event with an excellent points victory over Ali Shah at the King George’s Hall, in Blackburn, on Saturday.
Hall could be now primed for a shot at the Central Area title or an eliminator bout at the very least
Ince is also hoping that Preston light-heavyweight star Matty Clarkson, who is trained by former world kickboxing champion Johnney Roye, will agree to fight Stafford in what should be a blockbuster showdown at the Guild Hall.
“Mike would like the fight with Matty as a British title eliminator,” Ince said. “We’re hoping it will happen – we’ll just have to wait and see.”
If you would like tickets for the event, call Ince on 07971047762.