William Dennis and Perry Cranston had both been out drinking with separate groups of friends on February 23 last year - in the hours prior to the fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, Nottingham Crown Court heard on Friday, January 8.
As various groups converged on Clumber Street in the town, a group of men huddled under a canopy waiting to make their way home, and started talking and ‘bantering’ about the forthcoming fight.
The court heard that Mr Cranston then made a remark about ‘white power’, which caused Dennis to ‘see red’ and start swinging punches at the other man.
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He then grabbed him by the chest and dragged him into the road, punching him up to nine times - the last one knocking him out cold. Mr Cranston then fell backwards and hit his head on a kerb, causing bleeding to the brain.
Prosecutors told the court that Mr Cranston was rushed to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton, before being transferred to intensive care at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre where medics battled to save his life following a major bleed to the brain.
The court heard that Mr Granston had been left with memory problems and had to wear a helmet to protect his skull after a steel plate fitted by surgeons had to be removed after it became infected.
The attack also caused him to miss an exam which would have fully qualified him as an electrician, deprived him of his driving licence, and he had lost around £14,000 in earnings.
Dennis, 23, of Kempton Road, Mansfield, admitted causing grievous bodily harm, but told police he had been an ongoing victim of racism, growing up in Mansfield.
In comments made to police after his arrest, Dennis told officers: “I heard him say ‘white power’, and I flipped, I’m so angry with myself.”
He added: “I’m a youth offending worker. I tell other people not to react.”
Analysis of Mr Cranston’s phone revealed no other racist remarks or any association with far right views, the court heard.
Mitigating for Dennis, Adrian Reynolds described him as a young man who had devoted his life to helping others, and had played a significant role in deterring young people away from knife crime and racism.
“This is the only bad thing he has ever done in his life, and it was a terrible thing when you consider the consequences,” he said. “This has blighted a life that has been dedicated to doing good in his community.”
Sentencing, Recorder Graham Huston acknowledged Dennis’ previous good character and contribution he had made, but said he had no alternative to send him to prison for 14 months because of the severity of the injuries received by Mr Cranston.
He said: “you were angered by something that was said . . . something snapped. I take into account the abuse, and the racist abuse, you have suffered through your life. But the red mist came down and you wanted to knock him down and knock him out.”