Essex

Clacton: Professional boxing returns after 80 years

Boxer Tommy Jacobs with brother Matt Image copyright Shane Leach
Image caption Boxer Tommy Jacobs celebrates a win with his brother Matt

Professional boxing is making a comeback to a seaside town for the first time in nearly 80 years.

Promoter Essex Boxing Organisation (EBO) says the series of bouts at the Princes Theatre, Clacton-on-Sea, is a "huge deal".

The last professional boxing match in the town was held at Butlin's in February 1939.

Colchester boxer Tommy Jacobs said he hoped it would "inspire children to get off the streets and into boxing".

He will be taking on Albanian Xhuljo Vrenozi for the super welterweight intercontinental title and final eliminator for the WBF world title.

Other boxers stepping into the ring include Commonwealth gold medallist Iain Weaver, Colchester welterweight Dean Porter and Ipswich's Rob Elden.

Jacobs, 31, who set up EBO, said: "It's a massive thing for Clacton and the night is going to be massive for me.

"It will be the biggest match of my career so hopefully it is going to lead to bigger things."

Image copyright British Boxing History
Image caption Featherweight Charlie Mack was the last professional boxer to fight in Clacton

Featherweight Charlie Mack - the brother of 1936 British welterweight champion Dave McCleave - was the last person to box professionally in Clacton.

He lost his 1939 Butlin's bout to Mike Kavan.

In the same year, US boxer Henry Armstrong trained in the town ahead of his fight with Ernie Roderick, who was then the British champion.

Armstrong, who once held three world titles at the same time, is considered one of the greatest-ever fighters. The restaurant at the bowling alley on Clacton Pier is named after him.

Image copyright British Pathe
Image caption Henry Armstrong, second from front, took part in a tug of war competition in Clacton as part of his training in 1939

Mick Skeels, cabinet member for leisure and tourism at Tendring District Council, said boxing was "part of our resort's heritage".

"It is brilliant we are bringing boxing back to Clacton," he said. "There will be a whole evening of thrills and closely-fought contests."

Image copyright British Boxing History
Image caption British boxer Eddie Phillips, seen here talking to a chef, was a regular at Butlin's in Clacton in the 1930s

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