SPORTSDESK COMMENT with Daniel Gregory: Second chance for Scarborough’s forgotten man

Do you agree with Daniel? Email or Tweet @mrdanielgregory
Do you agree with Daniel? Email or Tweet @mrdanielgregory

There was a proud smile on the faces of the members of the Ingle family present at the opening of the new boxing academy on Monday.

Such a shame then that they had to travel for over an hour to receive any kind of recognition for Paul’s achievements during a career which placed Scarborough on the sporting map.

Paul Ingle Boxing Academy opens.Press video interview.Picture Richard Ponter 140803t

Paul Ingle Boxing Academy opens.Press video interview.Picture Richard Ponter 140803t

It was a great honour to be invited along to the opening of the Paul Ingle Boxing Academy by Paul’s long-time friend Sonny Pollard.

To see a man who has tragically been cast aside and left to fend for himself by his home town getting the recognition his efforts in the ring deserve was fantastic.

My colleague Ian Johnson recieved some stark words when speaking to Paul’s mum Carol, who said: “He’s never had enough recognition at home.

“He is the forgotten boxer and I couldn’t tell you why.

“If he was from Hull or London, they wouldn’t let that happen.”

Yes, Paul has struggled for the past 12 years since his stunning career in the ring was tragically cut short against Mbulelo Botile in December 2000, but the town he served so stoutly both inside and outside the ring have forgotten him.

To see Carol, his brother Dean and nephew Harry all able to witness Paul being filmed for Sky Sports’ weekly boxing show Ringside and getting some appreciation after many years in the shadows, was great to see.

As Sky Sports pundit Jamie Moore pointed out to me before they started filming for their Life After Boxing feature, behind the redemption of most boxers who suffer a fall from grace is a good friend from during their careers.

And in this case, that man is Sonny.

Sonny has been the friend to Paul that his hometown should have been.

He’s guided Paul to lose over five stone, opened a boxing academy in his name and has hooked the Scarborough man up with boxing journalist Paul Zanon, who has started work on his autobiography.

A dramatic turn-around for Paul, and I’m sure you’ll all share my delight that he’s turning his life around.

I interviewed Paul a couple of years ago for our Big Interview feature and was concerned at how much he repeated himself and at how much his speech had unfortunately deteriorated due to his almost-fatal injuries.

Having spent more and more time with Ingle since, not only does he look a lot more like his old self, his speech has improved dramatically.

To see him on the pads with his nephew Harry was remarkable, you wouldn’t have seen that two years ago.

Young Harry, 11, a promising young boxer who trains and fights for Scarborough ABC, will also have learned a lot from his session on the pads with Moore, who trains top professionals Matthew Macklin and Tommy Coyle.

Who is to say Ingle couldn’t now lose a few more stone and start training the professional boxers of the future.

It is just a crying shame that those boxers will be from Hull, not Scarborough.