Boxing returns to the Essex town that’s steeped in the sport’s history

Matt Jacobs corner team with brother Tommy Jacobs. Picture: Shane Leach Photography

Matt Jacobs corner team with brother Tommy Jacobs. Picture: Shane Leach Photography - Credit: Archant

Professional boxing is making a welcome return to Clacton after almost 80 years away from the town.

Charlie Mack the boxer

Charlie Mack the boxer - Credit: Archant

The Princes Theatre is hosting a series of bouts on November 17 in what is thought to be the first time professional boxing has been put on in Clacton since 1939.

Back then featherweight Charlie Mack lost to Mike Kavan in a bout at Butlins in February of that year.

Clacton is a town that’s steeped in boxing history. The restaurant at the bowling alley on Clacton Pier, Armstrong’s, is named after the great American boxer John Henry Armstrong who beat British champion Ernie Roderick in the town in 1939. He trained at Butlin’s new holiday camp at Clacton and found it so cold he sometimes went out wearing three jerseys.

Now a top line-up of fights is returning to Clacton, with a bill featuring international fighters as well as the chance to see some professional debuts and local Essex bouts.

Stepping into the ring will be Colchester boxer Tommy Jacobs, taking on Albanian Xhuljo Vrenozi for the super welterweight intercontinental title and final eliminator for the WBF world title, while Navid Iran will face up to Ben McGivern for the Professional Boxing Council light heavyweight international title.

Also gearing up for the night are Commonwealth Games gold medallist Iain Weaver and also Gareth Hogg in a WBU title fight, with their opponents to be confirmed.

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Clacton’s very own Ben Cook will make his professional debut against Northern Ireland’s Chris Wong in the featherweight class. Also making debuts are Colchester welterweight Dean Porter against Ste Stunners, and Ipswich’s Rob Elden against Lee Cooper in super middleweight.

Meanwhile the Essex Boxing Organisation (EBO) will run an undercard featuring Kerry Markham against Sinead Henton in the Lightweight Southern Area Title, Calvin Carruthers against Jimmy-Ray Martin, Adam Moore taking on Jake Dove-Lyons and Graham Meachen facing up to Richard Chandler.

EBO debuts are anticipated from Reece Goulding, Jay Rusecki and Megan Philbin, and further bouts are set to be added to the bill.

Mick Skeels, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism at Tendring District Council, which runs the Princes Theatre, said the evening promised to be an exciting night of fighting.

“Boxing offers an exhilarating show, which is why the top fights in the world attract huge venues such as Las Vegas and even bigger audiences,” Cllr Skeels said.

“This programme of fights offers audiences not just one bout but more than 10, including some real big names, meaning there will be a whole evening of thrills and closely-fought contests.

“It is brilliant that we are bringing boxing back to Clacton, as the sport is part of our resort’s heritage, and I think the crowd has a great night ahead of it.”