Furious boxing fans have been left in the dark and are demanding refunds after the MTK Lonsdale Box Cup was suddenly axed following reports of a ‘firearm’.
Organizers claimed they were contacted by police at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Saturday over fears someone had a weapon inside the building.
They said this report was “confirmed” by undercover police officers who were inside the bustling arena and the decision to cancel was made “collectively”.
But police sources have told the Daily Record that no plain-clothed officers were ever in attendance at the event and the decision to ax the event was made by the organisers.
The original statement from MTK said: “We had the police attend the area with reports of a firearm within the building at 1.04pm with undercover police within the building confirming this.
“With not only one situation outstanding, the absolute paramount safety of everyone within the building oversees anything wrong with the event and we collectively agreed we had the police take over to evacuate the building having announced the closure of the tournament at 2:15 without raising further alarm and distress.”
Fans labeled the event a “shambles” from the start with lengthy delays and confusion amongst competitors and spectators – who had forked out £65 per ticket to watch.
Video footage captured angry fans storming the ring after an MC announced the event was being axed halfway through. Several boxing clubs have blasted the “lack of organization” while others vowed never to attend another box cup event.
Inverurie Boxing Club said: “Unfortunately, due to complete lack of organisation, communication and health and safety of boxers at the hands of Lonsdale MTK Box Cup, our three boxers have not had the experience that we entered them for.
“They will have memories, but not the ones that we had hoped for. The club spent a huge amount of money on entry fees, accommodation, transport, along with other expenses with absolutely nothing to show for it and no enjoyable experience for the boxers.
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“It would have been fantastic for our boxers to have experienced competing in what was a fantastic venue, but unfortunately after two days of uncertainty about whether they were competing or not the competition came to an end today with no explanation from the organisers.
“We would like to thank the boxers for all their hard work in getting ready for what was to be a great end to the season spoiled by the above.”
Northwest Amateur Boxing Club, from Kilmarnock, added: “Total carnage at the Lonsdale MTK Global Box Cup today.
“But totally out with our control and we’re as gutted about the tournament being canceled midway through as our boxers and everyone else who attended are. Honestly never seen anything like it before and we’ll never be at that box cup again.”
Posting on social media, Shelley Wheeldon wrote: “Ticket refund is just the start. What about the poor boxers and coaches? Big expense. Hotels booked and paid for as well as travel expenses. Someone needs to answer for this.”
Jack Chapman added: “Nothing has been said or no communication given for the event seating ticket refunds, boxers entries etc. The statement given from the event was just a load of nonsense. They need to stand up and be accountable.”
The Instagram and Facebook pages for MTK Lonsdale Box Cup – which previously featured their lengthy cancellation statement – appear to have been deleted while their Twitter account has been made private.
A statement from Police Scotland said: “Officers received a report of a firearm at the Emirates Arena, London Road, Glasgow. Uniformed officers attended and searched the area however there was no firearm recovered.
“Following discussion with organizers and security, police monitored the cancellation of the event from a distance. Inquiries are ongoing.”
A Boxing Scotland spokesperson: “Whilst Boxing Scotland had no involvement or jurisdiction over the Lonsdale Box Cup event abandoned at the weekend, nonetheless we sympathize with those athletes, coaches, clubs and supporters affected by the abandonment, especially those who traveled significant distances to attend .”
A statement from MTK Lonsdale Boxcup organizer Steve Sharkey on Monday said: “Having had the police officers confirm the unconfirmed report to us in the room that it came in to them at 1:04pm with the nine to ten of us there at the time, I am left with very little option for everyone’s safety throughout to cancel the tournament.
“Yes, I have canceled this, anyone put in my position with this information to hand would have done the same.
“I will not take that responsibility to endanger anyone within the building and the safety of everyone is absolute paramount.
“This report has been confirmed by Scotland Police.
“The cancellation is on the back of the police advising us of such an unconfirmed report, as the safety of everyone is paramount.”
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