WORLD championship boxing comes to Rotherham tonight – and promoters have been knocked out by the public support.
A capacity crowd of approaching 1,500 is expected for the big show at Magna, headlined by Terri Harper’s fight against South African Nozipho Bell for the vacant IBO super-featherweight crown.
Bramley’s Lee Appleyard and Doncaster’s former world title contender Gavin McDonnell are also appearing on an impressive card put together by Stefy Bull Promotions.
Former boxing champ Ryan Rhodes, who is supporting the night, said: “We’ve had a great response from the Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster areas.
“As a small hall promoter, I believe we are putting on one of the best shows in a long, long time. Not many small hall promoters put world title fights on when you have not got TV involved.
"I boxed at Magna ten or 11 years ago and we have had some great nights there."
Head to head...Terri Harper and Nozipho Bell.
Appleyard has every motivation to mark his home-town debut with a win against Newark's Fonz Alexander.
A victory is expected to catapult him into a crack at the Commonwealth Title in October against holder Philip Bowes in London.
Such an opportunity would be huge for the 31-year-old, who was forced to settle for a controversial draw against Kieran McLaren in his last fight in March. Before that, Appleyard was on the wrong side of a points debated decision against the unbeaten Bilal Rehman in Doncaster.
It has left the former English Lightweight champion wanting to regain some momentum and tonight's bout gives him the chance to do just that.
“It is case of just ticking over, getting a win and then moving straight on for the Commonwealth Title fight,” said Lee.
“I have been a little bit unfortunate with the last couple of decisions so getting the chance has cut me a break really.
“The champion has already defended the Commonwealth title against some good kids. He is a very good fighter. It is not an easy fight but you don't get easy Commonwealth Title fights."
At 22, Denaby bill-topper Harper would become Britain's youngest female world champion should she win.
Any remaining tickets for the show will be available on the door. First bell is at 7pm.
More on the build-up in today's Advertiser.