Scott Fitzgerald: Booze and drug-fuelled boxing champ jailed after one punch knockout of man outside Preston pub
The Preston fighter was jailed after a judge heard how, fuelled by drink and drugs, 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 in November.
The 31-year-old, who was facing a trial by jury on three counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault and affray, 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 to 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.
Judge Archer 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 bar of the Grand Junction 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 on the Wheatsheaf pub opposite saw Mr 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 punch that had landed him before the court.
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.