Four North-East boxers won gold at the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) national schoolboy championships last weekend, but the night ended in a shambles.

Because of crowd congestion proceedings were brought to a sudden halt last Friday evening.

Police were called and the theatre was evacuated because of fears for crowd safety although no arrest were made. Ron Harvey, secretary of the Tyne, Tees and Wear ABA, said about 620 tickets had been sold beforehand, creating a sell-out. But he claimed there were many more inside.

There were also people with tickets outside the hall attempting to get in.

At the time the evening was halted there were several bouts still to take place, including those scheduled for the following day.

The region was represented by 14 lSA at the event, held at the Broadway Theatre, Barking in Essex, with seven on each day.

Somewhat thankfully Friday's matches featuring North-East competitors had been completed before the night was brought to a premature end.

Those who were scheduled to go for gold on Saturday were Dougie Curran (Grainger Park, Newcastle), Danny Lee (Birtley ABC), Kyle Dignen (Headland ABC, Hartlepool), Karl Armstrong (Craghead ABC, Durham), Alex Knox (Bedlington ABC) and Bradley Saunders (Spennymoor Boxing Academy).

They are now scheduled to compete at the Metrodome, Barnsley on April 28.

Spennymoor BA's Nathan Ballan's bout is in Barnsley on April 2, brought forward because his opponent has a date in America.

Paul Hodgson, secretary of Spennymoor BA, was furious with the events at last weekends championship.

"Our kids were woken at midnight and told they wouldn't be boxing the next day.

"They were absolutely devastated. Some of them had family and friends coming down the next day."

Most friends received a warning phone call before they set off for Essex.

However, Tod Wilkinson, who was intending to give Saunders backing, wasn't quite so lucky.

He reached London and rang Brad's father Geoff on his mobile phone for further directions.

But when Tod rang, Brad and Geoff were almost back home.

"The national finals are a massive event for the kids - it's like the FA Cup final to them," said Paul.

"And when they turned up they were being told to weigh-in in the car park outside!

"If the ABA want to see how to run a show they should come to Spennymoor and watch one of ours. "We treat our kids like stars and then they go down there and that happens."

Those who were successful at the championships were David Watson (Shildon ABC), Chris Riley (Wellington ABC, Middlesbrough), Stuart Leonard (Darlington ABC) and Lee Dawson (Hartlepool Catholic Club).

The quartet all gained gold on points.

Aaran Fletcher (Shildon ABC), Michael Henderson and Johnny Muldoon Henderson (both Empire SOB, Blyth) all lost their contests.