Former British champ Scott Fitzgerald has been jailed
Decorated boxer Scott Fitzgerald has been jailed for 46 weeks after he attacked a man outside of a pub last year.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist was found guilty after he had floored Levi Francis with a single punch in a drink and drugs fuelled rage.
Aged 31, the Preston man was jailed after a judge heard how he hit a road worker with a blow so hard it left him unconscious and with a broken jaw.
But Fitzgerald could be released in a matter of days after the city's Crown Court was told he had already spent around six months in prison awaiting trial following the assault last November.
The former boxing champion was facing a trial by jury on three counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault and affray, he pleaded guilty to the GBH charge at the last minute. As a result the prosecution offered no evidence on the other two offences and formal not guilty verdicts were recorded.
After hearing how Levi Francis was knocked out by the boxer's devastating punch near the Grand Junction pub in Watery Lane, Ashton, Judge Richard Archer told him he was lucky not to be facing a much more serious charge.
The judge said that a professional boxer who was unable to channel the power in his fists because of drink and drugs could so easily have caused not just unconsciousness, but death.
The court heard that trouble erupted after Fitzgerald walked into the Grand Junction bar in a drunken state. He had been drinking since the afternoon and had also used cannabis.
Barrister Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, showed the court clips of CCTV footage taken on the night. The clips showed him going into the pool room, stamping on the floor and then being told to leave by landlady Kirsty Allen. He is then seen being pushed out of the door by a group of drinkers.
Outside he had a confrontation with another man, Barry Graham, who was knocked to the ground but elected not to make a complaint. Then a camera from the Wheatsheaf pub opposite saw victim Mr Levi Francis fall to the floor. The actual punch was just out of sight of the camera. Police were called and Fitzgerald was arrested the following morning at home in Ashton.
In a personal statement, read out by Mr Brookwell, Mr Francis said he had suffered a broken jaw which needed surgery, a laceration to his right eyebrow and bruising to his face. He also had to have a wisdom tooth removed following surgery.
Defence counsel Ayaz Qazi urged Judge Archer to take into account that it was not a flurry of blows, but just one senseless punch from the defendant.
The boxer is due in Magistrates Court on June 2 to face three separate assault charges allegedly committed last November. He is also facing a charge of rape which will be dealt with at the Crown Court on August 14.
From Preston, "Fitzy" had his last fight in May 2021, resulting in a third-round KO over winning fighter Gregory Trenel on the undercard of Chisora-Parker in Manchester.
But that had been his first fight in almost 20 months. And just a few months later, towards the end of the year, concerns were raised when he was pictured asleep on the streets near his home. Reports circulated that the fallen fighter was addicted to hard drugs, but Scott's excuse for his catatonic state was that he had just had a hard street fight with a traveller.
In March 2020, his father Dave shared details of his son falling on troubled times and having to seek help in Tony Adams’ Sporting Chance Clinic in a bid to overcome his problems with gambling, drugs and alcohol.
It was around the same time he had been arrested on suspicion of assault in the Ryelands Crescent area in Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston and was subsequently suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control.
His father admitted that his son had told him he’d been taking drugs since he was 12 years old, “Scott has an addictive personality, but I don’t think his mates want to see him succeed. I want him to be a decent human being.”
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