Peterlee boxer's hopes of Commonwealth Games place KO'd by jail sentence

Jailed: Declan Fusco

Jailed: Declan Fusco

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A YOUNG boxer's hopes of representing his country at the Commonwealth Games are at an end after he was jailed over two violent incidents.

Declan Fusco, an Amateur Boxing Association finalist last year, was considered a contender for a place in the England boxing squad for this summer's Glasgo games.

But any chance the 22-year-old heavyweight - who represented South Durham Amateur Boxing Club in Fishburn - had of national selection ended when he was jailed for a total of 18 months.

Recorder Sophie Drake told him: "Your boxing is both a blessing and a curse.

"When you punch someone there is the potential to cause really serious injury.

"There is some evidence you are a decent man when sober, but, with a drink inside you, your powerful punch makes you a dangerous man.

"You must learn to control your aggression and use it properly in the ring."

The consecutive sentences were imposed at Durham Crown Court despite Fusco, of Rydal Crescent, Peterlee, being cleared of assaulting his ex-partner and one of her friends, allegations he denied.

Although found 'not guilty' of assault causing actual bodily harm and assault by beating, he had earlier admitted criminal damage involving one of the women's mobile phones, worth £180, and of household fixtures and furnishings, arising from the same incidents, on September 14 and 15 last year.

He also stood to be sentenced for his part in a violent clash involving two groups on The Promenade, in Blackpool, on August 3.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said: "The defendant threatened a pub doorman, and threw punches at the other group, some of which connected."

The violent disorder conviction, plus the criminal damage offences, put him in breach of a 16-month sentence suspended for two years which was imposed last year.

He admitted assault and grievous bodily harm following an unprovoked attack on an innocent drinker in the Village Inn, Easington, on December 23, 2012.

The court heard Fusco was pacing up and down looking for a fight and a single punch left his victim, who needed 50 stitches to his face, permanently scarred.

Jane Waugh, mitigating, said part of Fusco's problems stemmed from him "rising to the bait" if challenged.

He has a gift, but he has now realised he must channel that in the right direction.

"He has reached a turning point.

"His hopes of competing in the Commonwealth Games are at an end, but he is hopeful of boxing for his country in the Olympics or boxing professionally in future."

She added that while on remand in prison Fusco has been attending church.

Recorder Drake imposed sentences of two months for the criminal damage offences, four months for the disorderly conduct in Blackpool, and activated 12-months of his previous suspended sentence, all to run consecutively.

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