By Barry Newcombe
London’s Savoy Hotel had been closed for three years and undergone a refit costing £220 million, and the Boxing Writers’ Club was determined to be the first sporting organisation back in the building with last night’s sell-out, black-tie (and all-male) 59th annual dinner.
Veteran BWC member Colin Hart of The Sun said as he welcomed guests into the dining room: “The greatest thing about this dinner is that past and present fighters come in numbers and it is terrific to see them year by year. This is a special dinner and always will be.”
Heavyweight world champion David Haye stayed until just past 10pm before leaving to ensure he did not break a strict curfew as part of his big fight preparations for his title defence next month against Audley Harrison.
But many others saw out the programme, under the guidance of BWC chairman, the BBC Radio commentator Mike Costello.
The award of best young boxer of the year went to the Welshman Nathan Cleverly, who was nominated for the fourth time and is now heading for a world title fight in December.
Tom Stalker, of Liverpool, who won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi was awarded best amateur boxer of the year.
And Duke McKenzie, who held world titles at three different weights, was awarded the Joe Bromley Ring award for outstanding services to boxing.