Trouble was brewing from the moment that Leeds' Damo Jones entered the ring. His fans and the home-based Barnsley fans started goading each other from the first bell, and things turned ugly in the third round as both sets of fans charged each other. Shocked ringside spectators found themselves keeping one eye on the action and one eye on the scary incidents that were taking place in the stands as they worried for their safety and well-being.
Despite an end of the round plea from Damo for the rioting to stop, the riot continued and got worse and the Barnsley Metrodome was completely destroyed. Fans were throwing anything that they could get their hands on at one another, like seats, advertising boards, bottles, glasses and cans, as several uninvolved spectators were left injured by the flying objects. There were countless trails of blood on the floor as I left the arena to try and get my head around what I had just witnessed.
The police were called to the scene but by the time they arrived, the damage had been done and the fight was abandoned, along with Matthew Mallin and Adam Jones contest for the British Masters light-middleweight title.
The scenes were horrific. There were lots of women and a few young children in the crowd and some of them unfortunately got caught up in the melé.
The whole incident has marred what was a competitive and entertaining show up to that point. Every fight was fairly even and it was just building up nicely to the main event, which the crowd were to be deprived of because of the idiotic actions of a few mindless thugs.
Promoter Carl Greaves and fighter Damo Jones were left shocked and speechless and you have to feel for these two men. Carl had done all the hard work to put on a quality small hall show yet all that hard work was undone by the rioters, and no doubt Carl will now have some questions to answer from the Board.
It is a shame that the incident is being talked about more than the five completed fights that took place.
One man is thought to be in intensive care after being attacked in the entrance of the arena afterwards, and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Barnsley Metrodome