WATCHING BORIS FROM THE RINGSIDE

mayors-cop-2009As an Assembly Member I am accustomed to a close-up view of Boris at Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, but I quite literally had a ringside seat for his appearance at the Mayor’s Cup boxing tournament at Porchester Hall this past Friday night, which I attended in support of the All Stars Boxing Club who hosted the event.

While Boris is happy to turn up to such events in search of a photo-opportunity, it is not at all clear what practical support he’s offering to the club, despite the pledges of financial assistance he made during his election campaign. Indeed, when I questioned the Mayor about it last month, I got a distinctly non-committal response. While the Mayor is evidently reluctant to offer the club financial assistance, the three local councillors certainly have done so by giving £5000 from their ward budget.

Truth be told, the City of Westminster Council could also help by CPOing the premises in Harrow Road where the All Stars Boxing Club is based, but that would mean admitting their folly in selling it off in the first place a few years back.

In the meantime Friday’s event rather died a death after Boris’s brief appearance, which does not bode well for the long term future of the Mayor’s Cup. The least Boris could do is assist with the marketing, brand the event with the mayoral logo and do his hosts the courtesy of staying for the whole evening.

The most telling point was that there was no show from the new heavyweight champion of the world, Londoner David Haye, who had attended last year. Clearly he’s a bigger figure in the boxing world than the Mayor of London, and what was more embarrassing was that the Mayor’s office made out Haye was coming when he was actually in Cyprus taking a well-earned break with his family. I certainly know who the punters came to see but I am not sure Boris did.

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