A RISING boxing starleft a reveller needing 50 stitches to his face and possible lasting nerve damage after a vicious attack in a village pub.
Martin Waller was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital with a hole in his cheek and it is not yet known whether he will have lasting nerve damage after he was attacked by Amateur Boxing Association finalist Declan Fusco.
Fusco, who fights out of South Durham ABC and dreams of competing in the Commonwealth Games, also struck Stephen Alban, who was enjoying a drink with Mr Waller at the Village Inn, in Easington, two days before Christmas.
CCTV footage from the pub was shown to justices when Fusco appeared at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.
It showed a packed bar and Fusco talking to the two men before he hit Mr Alban and then delivered a right hook to Mr Waller, knocking him to the floor.
Fusco, of Rydal Crescent, Peterlee, who was convicted of drink-driving in January last year, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Waller and common assault on Mr Alban, both on December 23 last year.
Prosecuting, Debra Jones said Mr Alban and Mr Waller were socialising when Fusco and another man approached them and blamed them for causing an argument.
The group were seen on CCTV talking for a moment before Fusco shakes hands with both men.
Mrs Jones said: “You then see him deliver a blow to Mr Alban, that’s the common assault and then we see him punch Mr Waller.
“He was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital and received treatment for what’s effectively described as a hole in the cheek.
“It was stitched under local anaesthetic and required 50 stitches.
“There has been further treatment and we don’t know if there will be permanent nerve damage to the face.”
Mrs Jones urged magistrates to send the case to be dealt with at crown court.
She said the fact Fusco is a trained boxer adds to his culpability and the starting point is 18-months custody, ranging up to three years.
Jaxon Taylor, mitigating, said Fusco first “slapped” Mr Alban with his left hand and then claimed Mr Waller made a racial remark which, added to him being under the influence of alcohol, has made him “strike out, it’s been quite instinctive”.
He said it was suggested that glass on the floor may have caused Mr Waller’s injury, not Fusco’s blow.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Alan Lawson said the court’s powers were insufficient and transferred the case to Durham Crown Court for sentencing.
Fusco will appear at crown court on May 22 and was given unconditional bail.