Friends of a talented young boxer, who tragically took his own life last year, have raised thousands in his memory by putting on a memorial fight.
Fight Fest, held at Walker Dome over the weekend, saw 36 boxing and K-1 matches between up-and-coming talent from local gyms.
The highlight of the evening was when friends of Pegswood-born Matthew Wall, who passed away in October 2021 aged 30, battled for a memorial belt created in his memory.
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It was a fitting tribute for accomplished boxer Matty, who was a popular figure at Newbiggin club and had four national amateur boxing titles under his belt.
The event raised £2200, which will be used by Matthew’s family to buy a memorial bench for him in his favorite spot in Bothal Woods, Northumberland.
Organizer Stephen Sinclair, one of Matthew’s close friends, said: “His death came as such a huge blow, and when we decided to do a show in memory of him, so many people came forward to donate.
“Matty was a talented boxer and a massive character. You’d look across the room and he’d always be chatting to someone different.
“I spoke to him three days before he took his own life, and I really had no indication that he was struggling.
“He moved out to Tenerife during the pandemic and it really seemed like he was doing well and starting a new life.”
He continued: “The pandemic has been so difficult, but too often men are deemed weak if they admit they’re struggling.
“No one should have to suffer in silence like Matty did, or to feel they aren’t good enough. Everyone has a gift.
Boxing events, like Fight Fest, give people an opportunity to find out what they are made of and to introduce them into a supportive community.
“Over the years we’ve lost too many young lads.”
The Matty Wall Memorial Fight saw one of Matty’s good friends from Tenerife, Andy Flavell, go up against Aaron Jones.
Andy won the fight after walking into the ring to an “awesome” performance by British rapper Big Narstie.
Matty’s other close friend Chris Walters took part in a different fight, raising £500 towards the grand total.
The Wall family were “blown away” by the support and the turn-out, according to Stephen.
It was the 16th installment of ‘Fight Fest’ which has been running for over a decade, with thousands of spectators filling out Walker Dome to enjoy the night.
Fighters even flew in from destinations like Romania and Australia to compete and Geordie Shore’s Marty Mckenna went up against youtuber Asap Alberto, knocking him out via a head kick in the first round.
The next Fight Fest event is planned for May, where a new set of fighters will take to the stage.
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