Belfast Telegraph

Mass brawl at Rogan Tyson boxing match sparks call for alcohol ban

By Deborah McAleese

Riot police were called to a major boxing match in Belfast after violent clashes between fans broke out among the 6,000 spectators.

Trouble erupted within the Odyssey Arena on Saturday during the main event of the evening, the Irish heavyweight championship fight between Martin Rogan and Tyson Fury.

Several spectators had to run from their seats and jump over barriers to escape when some 40 people began to brawl.

Smaller pockets of drunken fights also broke out in other parts of the arena as many parents with children watched in horror.

It is understood that several security members were injured trying to control the trouble.

Their injuries are not believed to have been serious.

Riot police were called to the venue but by the time they arrived the trouble had been brought under control.

The PSNI said a man of 37 was treated for facial injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening. No arrests were made.

Management at the Odyssey Arena last night said a review will be carried out to help prevent violence at future events. A spokesman said: “Nobody wants to see sport marred in this way and we will be reviewing ways in which we can ensure this type of occurrence never happens again.”

The trouble has sparked calls for alcohol to be banned from sale within the Odyssey at similar events in the future.

“There was such a great family atmosphere at the event until this trouble kicked off,” said Sinn Fein west Belfast councillor Stephen Magennis.

Mr Magennis added: “This trouble would have ruined the night for many people.

“Management at the Odyssey need to sit down and look at what went wrong here.

“I really think they need to look at banning alcohol completely in the arena at events like this.”

The bars within the arena were closed just before the main fight of the evening began at around 10pm.

City councillor Jim Rodgers said: “It was too late by then. People were already well tanked up. I would ask management to take a long, hard look at what went wrong here. It was an absolute disgrace.”

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