After those close to Scarborough boxing great Paul Ingle claimed he’d been “forgotten” in his home town, there are now growing calls to name the Weaponness sports village after the champion.
Scarborough’s Labour party is to discuss the possibility of the proposed multi-million pound development bearing the name of the retired IBF title holder.
And the hard-hitting featherweight legend, who has recently emerged from the wilderness having shed over seven stone, said he would be “chuffed” if the council bestowed the accolade on him.
“It would be the ultimate honour,” said Ingle, adding that he wants to see more sporting facilities for the town’s youngsters.
“I would be over the moon if they were to name it after me – it would be first class.”
The possibility of honouring Scarborough’s only world champion came after a new boxing academy was named after Ingle – over 40 miles away in Hull.
His mum Carol told The Scarborough News she thought her son had become the “forgotten boxer”, after he stepped away from the public eye following his devastating knockout to Mbulelo Botile in 2000.
The fight nearly cost Ingle his life, and put a tragic slant on an otherwise golden career.
Since that fateful night, his weight ballooned as he struggled on benefits, but now Paul is fighting back, showcasing a new trim figure as he eyes up a return to the sport either as a pundit or a coach.
And among those lining up to call for Ingle’s name to adorn the long-delayed Weaponness site is Scarborough councillor Steve Bairstow.
The Woodlands representative says he regularly sees Paul out walking in the area, and feels naming the site after him would be a “fitting tribute”.
“I’m originally from Bradford, and they named a sports centre after (Scarborough boxer) Richard Dunn, who fought Muhammad Ali. But Paul’s achievements totally exceeded his, and I personally think it would be very appropriate to name it after him.”
Scarborough’s Labour group will convene on Friday morning before the full council meeting at the town hall to discuss party business, and Cllr Bairstow will float the naming proposal to the nine-member group.
If the suggestion proves popular, the party will likely formally propose the idea to all 50 members of the authority at a later date.
However, in the red ranks at least, the idea is unlikely to face much opposition, with Labour’s Eastfield councillor Tony Randerson saying it would be an appropriate way to honour “a true Scarborian who put Scarborough on the world map”.
Party leader Eric Broadbent admitted the council should do “everything in its power” to honour Paul, by either naming the village or a street after him.
Last week, the leisure village took a huge step forward in its development after council leader Tom Fox rubber-stamped Wrenbridge Land Limited as the firm to develop it.
The site would encompass a state-of-the-art sports centre, a games area and a new 2,000-seater football ground for Scarborough Athletic, who have played in Bridlington since their inception,
Despite the Wrenbridge deal, the council owns the naming rights, although with no planning permission yet, a spokesperson said no names have been considered yet.
But we understand that Cllr Fox is willing to consider naming one of the sports village avenues in honour of Paul.