IT was dry and sufficiently warm that few in the 1600-strong crowd felt the need to pull on a jumper or jacket. There was barely a puff of wind, no more than a very brief spot of drizzle.
In staging Scotland’s first outdoors boxing event for 21 years, the conditions could hardly have been more favourable for promoter/manager Sam Kynoch and those who traipsed out to Hamilton Accies’ New Douglas Park for the first action since lockdown effectively closed the sport down for 18 months.
Late on Saturday evening, with the action complete, the fans filing out and the clean-up operation just beginning, former lawyer Kynoch – the eponymous owner of Glasgow-based Kynoch Boxing – looked like a man who had spent the entire week on edge and was only now starting to feel the relief setting in.
It hadn’t all been plain sailing – one potential opponent wasn’t allowed in the country on Friday night and had to fly straight home – but overall the feeling was that it had been a success.
Working in conjunction with experienced English promoter Dennis Hobson and broadcast live on Fightzone TV, the event went as smoothly as could have been expected.
With coronavirus restrictions hopefully soon to be a thing of the past, Kynoch sees no reason why outdoors boxing can’t become a regular part of the Scottish boxing calendar.
“It was the first event after a long lay-off, the first event with all the Covid rules, the first event working with Fightzone and Dennis Hobson, and a first outdoors event working with Hamilton,” said Kynoch.
“There were so many issues in the build-up and so many things to deal with but that can only make it easier when we’re planning the next event.
“There was a lot of infrastructure work to take care of. We had to cover the pitch, build a structure for the ring, build a tower for TV and just get all the things ready that you need for an event of this magnitude.
“But I felt it went really well and it stands us in good stead for the future. The Scottish weather was kind to us but I’d definitely like to make this an annual event as there’s something special about it.
“It just felt great to have fans back at an event in Scotland and having them outdoors just added to the atmosphere.”
It was a successful night inside the ring, too, as two of Kynoch’s fighters advanced their careers by picking up belts.
Aberdonian Dean Sutherland claimed the WBO youth welterweight title with a seventh-round stoppage of Mexican Jose Antonio Delgado Velazquez, while Nathaniel Collins stopped Felix Williams in the third round to become Commonwealth featherweight champion.
The Ghanaian had failed to make the weight and barely threw a shot in anger and former Hamilton boy Collins took full advantage in front of his hometown crowd.
With former world champion Hannah Rankin – at the stadium on punditry duties – also announcing another crack at a world title later this year, optimism abounds around the Kynoch stable.
“We’ve got two new champions which is great,” added Kynoch. “Dean and Nathaniel both delivered stoppages and you can’t ask for more than that.
“With Dean I’ve been concerned before that he sometimes plateaus in fights and let guys off the hook but this time he turned it up mid-fight and stopped his opponent.
“And Nathaniel showed some real spite to stop his opponent, a guy who had only lost twice in his previous 31 fights.
“We’ll look to consolidate him at Commonwealth level but we’ll also look at international fights and the British picture might get interesting quite soon. His ultimate goal is to become a world champion but it’s one step at a time.
“The promotion as a whole had plenty to entertain the fans, both inside the stadium and those watching at home.
“It was all Scottish boxers on the card and we want to use this partnership to push our guys into title fights and give them the best opportunities. And Dennis and Fightzone are making that possible.”
Sutherland admitted he had other goals of his own in mind as he took a major step forward in his career.
“I’ve always had two dreams: to compete full-time as an athlete and to fill out Pittodrie for a big title fight,” said the Aberdeen diehard.
“And winning this belt has taken me closer to both. I feel that I’ve taken a massive step forward in my career and I have to thank my manager Sam for giving me this opportunity.
“I’ll have a few days off now then it’s back in the gym to prepare for a fight in Aberdeen in November where we’ll look to take it to the next level again.”