The first person I interviewed when I started working at the Scarborough Evening News 17 years ago was a quietly-spoken, polite local lad who was only a year older than me but had the world at his feet.
Paul Ingle went on to win the IBF featherweight title against Manuel Medina at the Hull Ice Arena a year later, but after suffering a blood clot on the brain in the title defence against Mbulelo Botile in December 2000 he spent several weeks in intensive care before recovering.
Though he was forced to retire from boxing, Ingle is now looking to pass on his skills and experience in a new boxing gym opened in his honour, The Paul Ingle Boxing Academy in Hull.
We are fortunate to have teamed up with Scratching Shed to publish an exclusive extract from Ingle’s autobiography ‘The Yorkshire Hunter’this week (p118-119).
The extract discusses the night the Edgehill lad became the world champion in November 1999, but there is one thing that stands out for me in the account.
The boxer recalls how Scarborough Borough Council refused to pay the £20,000 to stage the Medina fight in the town, stating they were only willing to pay £1,000 towards it.
Ingle says he and his promoter Frank Maloney offered to pay £5,000 each of their own cash so the council only had to pay the remainder but they were still not interested.
This is a shocking revelation, the council refusing to back a local lad who had worked his way up through the ranks to be on the verge of becoming champion of the world.
What other sports would be able to have such an event in the sportsperson’s own back yard? Literally in this case as the old McCain Stadium would surely have been the only suitable venue.
This could well have put the town on the sporting map and would have been great for the boxer himself to compete at the very highest level in his home town.
While it is great that the featherweight’s achievements were recognised by Sonny Pollard with the new gym in Hull, it is a disgrace that there is no major landmark, gym, leisure centre, etc in town to commemorate the greatest sportsman Scarborough has ever produced.
Some may argue that ex-Leicester and Boro star Colin Appleton should hold this title, but for me and most of my generation, and those since, Ingle is Scarborough’s greatest.
DON’T MISS: Exclusive extract from Paul Ingle’s upcoming autobiography ‘The Yorkshire Hunter’ - Only in this week’s Scarborough News