Boxing will be back at Odyssey, says board chief
Tyson Fury is adamant that he wants to base himself in Belfast and local boxing chief John Campbell is looking forward to his return.
The actions of a few mindless idiots in the stands at the Odyssey Arena could not spoil what was a great night’s action and Northern Ireland Area secretary Campbell has no doubt it will not have a detrimental effect on bringing further big nights to the venue.
Fury and promoter Mick Hennessy both hailed the support the newly crowned Irish heavyweight champion received after his comprehensive stoppage of Martin Rogan on Saturday night.
Campbell, while dismayed at the fight that broke out among some fans, is confident that it was merely a one-off and like many veteran supporters of the sport he could hardly remember the last time there was such an incident at a major boxing show on the Emerald Isle.
Campbell said: “It was disappointing to see some of the fans acting in that way but in no way do I believe this will have any impact on boxing coming back to the Odyssey.
“Some people have been quick to relate the issue to the amount of drink taken but I don’t believe that drink was an issue. Nobody who came into the arena was drunk and when the trouble did break out the security men were very quick to get it sorted out.
“We rarely have any trouble at boxing shows here. The security is there in case of an incident like that but it’s not like football were you have fans in one section and others in another.
“The fans sit together and normally it is not a problem.”
Campbell confirmed there would be no investigation into the issue by the British Boxing Board of Control and also went out of his way to salute the sportsmanship of new champion Fury who was quick to console Belfast man Rogan, despite the bad blood which surrounded the fight in the weeks leading up to their showdown which drew a crowd of around 5,500 on Saturday night.
“I have to say I thought Tyson Fury acted like a real gentleman throughout the whole week and I want to see him back in Belfast defending his title and in even bigger fights,” added Campbell.
“He’s a big talent and the Belfast public have really taken to him. Both men conducted themselves very well in the fight and at the end you saw Fury going straight over to Rogan.”
As for Fury he will return to the ring on June 30, possibly in Manchester, though promoter Hennessy has lined him up for a return to Belfast in September.
Fury was thrilled withe response he received from the Belfast public and now wants the local fans to back him all the way to world title glory.
Fury said: “That was the best reception I have received anywhere and I have told Mick that I want to be fighting here more often.
“I want to bring big fights here. The public were great all week and a lot of them were telling me to knock out Rogan.
“To win this Irish title means so much to me, it’s like a World title.”