STEVE Bendall is hoping his show at the O2 Academy in Boscombe on Saturday night can showcase “the next breed of boxers” on the south coast.

Former World Boxing Union middleweight champion Bendall has a gym on Ashley Road in Parkstone and is promoter for this weekend’s event.

South coast boxing has hit the headlines in the past year, with Chris Billam-Smith headlining packed out shows at both the BIC and Vitality Stadium, leading to him being crowned world champion last month.

Coming through the ranks, he got important fights under his belt on Bendall’s shows.

Looking ahead to this weekend, Bendall told the Daily Echo: “It’s just keep building the boxers down here on the south coast. Like we did with Chris Billam-Smith and Lee Cutler, they started off on my shows.

“We’re trying to build the next breed of boxers coming through really.

“There are some new boys on there. You’ve got Morgan Sellamuthu, you’ve got Jake Clarke from Bournemouth, who is very exciting.

“Jake’s got diabetes, he’s only the second boxer in the country to go pro with diabetes. The one defeat on Jake’s record was because of his diabetes, not because he was getting beat.

“They’re still working on understanding the blood sugar levels. Basically they’ve got a disc inserted in their leg so they can record their sugar levels in between rounds. If it goes beyond a certain amount, they have to stop the fight, which he was unfortunate on the fight where Jake’s only defeat they were trying to work with it.

“Jake’s a fantastic talent. We just hope it gets the chance to prove it properly.”

Bendall continued: “Jake was a fantastic amateur. He got to the ABA finals.

“We only delayed him going pro because of his diabetes. The only other boxer in the country with it is a kid called Muhammad Ali, believe it or not.

“It’s obviously frustrating for Jake, but he knows his body.

“Gemma Ruegg is on the bill, another Bournemouth name.

“Gemma has had a great 18 months as a pro, taking on all the best women in the country really.

“We’re trying to move her into another big fight, because she takes on all comers.”