Determined Ollerton fighter Ben Eland has promised he will be back after apologising to his supporters for his defeat in the high-profile Ultimate Boxxer event at the weekend.
The 28-year-old’s flirtation with boxing’s big time was all too brief as he fell in his only bout at the quarter-final stage of the glamorous, televised tournament for up-and-coming welterweights at the Manchester Arena.
But he refused to be broken by the setback and he told his Facebook followers: “Boxing is all I know, and I will return to the gym to work on my mistakes.
“Thankyou all for your continued support, and I promise we will have other great nights down the line. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.”
Many fans responded by assuring Eland that he had nothing to be sorry about after playing his part in a unique, crash, bang, wallop event that mixed boxing with live hip-hop music and offered a prize fund of £50,000.
Backed by former world champion Ricky Hatton, the show featured eight unbeaten fighters who contested three-round bouts. It was shown on free-to-air TV channel 5Spike and streamed live to thousands of online boxing fans via UNILAD.
Eland, who is now based in Stoke under the wing of former pro Scott Lawton, was pitted against Tom Young, an ex-footballer who was once on the books of Leeds United. In the crowd were a legion of supporters, who had travelled up from the Nottinghamshire area to cheer Eland on, wearing Robin Hood hats.
From the opening bell, Young was dominant, setting a suffocating pace and proving relentless in his attacks. Eland, who was in terrific condition, did his best to match fire with fire and retaliated in the second round.
He landed some accurate shots as the fight went on, but Young maintained his workrate and threw the kitchen sink at the Ollerton pro before earning a deserved unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) from the judges.
Young went on to stop the tournament favourite, Isaac Macleod, in the semi-finals before losing to Drew Brown, of Northampton, in the final.
“Full credit to Tom,” said Eland. “He boxed unbelievably and the format suited him better than me. I had the perfect game-plan, but I couldn’t execute it, and the loss will take some time to swallow.
“I was never expected to be on the big stage, but I was given the opportunity to walk out to an electric crowd and I truly lived my dream.”