Scorpion Boxing Club hosted another very successful Fight Night as part of the weekend long charity event organised by Ballymoney United Football Club.
Scorpion Coach Alan ‘Spike’ Martin was full of praise for the event and commented: “Scorpion Boxing Club would like to thank everyone at Ballymoney United, especially John Fall and Noel Lamont, for their support and for allowing us to be involved in what was a brilliant weekend of events.
“The funds that were reaised are vital to Scorpion and will be used to help get equipment and other bits and pieces.
“We have kids come to us from all over, not just Ballymoney. They come from Dervock, Dunloy, Loughguile, Portglenone, Ballycastle, Armoy and Mosside to train and fight at Scorpion and so any money we can raise is so important to the continued success of the club after we were turned down for the big boxing grant.”
In 2012 following the success of Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan at the Olympic Games, it was announbced that boxing in Northern Ireland was to get a cash injection of £3 million. However, despite an excellent dvelopment plan and presentation, Scorpion Boxing Club, Ballymoney didn’t receive a penny from the pot.
“It is something I am still angry about,” added Spike. “There were two tiers of awards and it was judged on a points system. Sport N.I. had someone go round and survey the various clubs and I had been told by development plan and strategy was one of the best submitted. If successful we would have been in line to receive a grant of £118,000 which would have been amazing and helped towards the progression of the club and the fighters.
“I spent a solid year going back and forward to the House of Sport in Belfast and having meetings with Stephen Mills who looks after boxing and we were devastated when we found out that we were turned down because Ballymoney was deemed not to be an area of social needs.
“We had meetings with Mervyn Storey and Daithi McKay. Willie Devlin came down from Stormont and we were basically told that we lost points because Ballymoney wasn’t an area of social needs, yet Skerries BC in Portrush, Errigal and the Showground all got various different levels of a grant.
“It was a bitter pill to swallow but you just have to push on and try and do your best to raise funds in other ways. It’s not easy because we are in a town that doesn’t seem to recognise the work we do and the success the club has.
“We haven’t even been acknowledged for the work we do with the Belfast Beltway project. We work to take young boxers to the United States and give them the opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime and also to get to box on an international stage in front of lawyers and congressmen from Washington DC.
“We are also the main organisers of the return visit by the American boxers who spent a lot of time round the north coast area. On their last visit they were accompanied by Hon. Vincent Orange an eminent DC Council member.”