4:26pm Tuesday 18th March 2014
TWO love struck Black Country boxers delivered surprise knock out marriage proposals to their girlfriends while still in the ring moments after a match.
Rick Welsby and Ade Firkins left their partners and fight fans agasp when they both dropped to one knee in the ring to ask the big question after the British Boxing Union fight at Merry Hill's Copthorne Hotel last Friday.
Luckily girlfriends Nikki Vyse and Debbie Tyler immediately said yes to rapturous applause from the crowd - after both boxers pulled out engagement rings donated by Laurick Jewellery.
Boxing promoter Pete Jackson said: “It’s never been done before – two guys who were boxing each other proposing at the same time. It was a great moment. We had a confetti gun and the whole room clapped. I’m proud to have been involved.”
He said Rick was the first to approach him with the surprise proposal request – and he was flabbergasted when Ade told him he’d had the same idea.
Rick, from Cradley Heath, said: "I'd been planning it for months. It was just a total coincidence that Ade was doing it as well."
The 24-year-old, who trains at Black Country Boxing in Lye, said his sweetheart Nikki, aged 22, from Stourbridge, "didn't have a clue" he was going to propose in the ring.
He added: "Her face said it all - her jaw just dropped."
Fortunately the fight between semi-pro light welter weight Rick and 44-year-old opponent Ade resulted in a draw - despite the 20-year age gap between them.
Ade, from Halesowen, had been hoping to prove himself in his first BBU fight after taking part in a charity boxing match last November.
But he admits his mind was more on the proposal than notching up a win.
He said: "I was more nervous about asking Debbie to marry me than I was about the fight."
Rick, who is already gearing up for his next fight - taking place in Devon this Saturday, added: "I'd like to thank Pete for setting it all up."
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