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SANDY RYAN WON RED ( ONE NATION PEGASUS ) V VALERIAN SPICER ( ISLINGTON )_

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Entering her first major international championship at this year’s Worlds, Sandy Ryan was expected merely to gain experience. Instead, showing power and skill, she boxed way through to the 64kgs final. She had to settle for silver there but, weighing in light, she can make the Olympic weight, 60kgs, and is one to watch for the future.

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Don’t miss the first issue in January for Boxing News’ choices for the best amateur boxers of 2014

Walsh

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In a year when Nicola Adams made history at the Commonwealth Games and Katie Taylor firmly underlined her name in the record books, Michaela Walsh is a surprise winner of this poll of our online readers. Walsh emerged as a rival to Adams at the Commonwealth Games. She reached the final, put in a  fiery challenge but Adams prevailed. Michaela rose to 54kgs for the World championships but lost a split decision to Azerbaijan’s Anna Alimardanova.

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Don’t miss the first issue in January for Boxing News’ choices for the best amateur boxers of 2014

December 25, 2014
December 25, 2014
EdwinValero

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BEFORE he was a murderer, Edwin Valero was a boxer.

And before he was a boxer, he was a boy, born in Venezuela on December 3, 1981 into a life of poverty and hard knocks that led to street fights and trouble with the police from a tender age. It was this shaky foundation that guided him to the prizefighting ring and from which that ring provided escape; it is likely in this harsh, angry soil that the seeds were sown that would ultimately erupt with shockingly violent finality.

Those early years, he would tell confidantes when he first arrived in the United States, were times of theft and motorcycle gangs, of finding an outlet for a tightly-coiled rage, a rage that seemingly never left him, even when he channeled it into the challenges of boxing.

“I saw him train about three times before I ever saw him spar, and I was immediately awed by him,” recalls Doug Fischer of The Ring, who was one of the first journalists to see the young super-featherweight in action shortly after he arrived at Joe Hernandez’s gym in Vernon, California in the spring of 2003. “The first time I saw him just train, just going through all the stations in this really cramped gym, and watching him skip rope and go from a double-end bag to a speed bag to a heavy bag and shadow-boxing, his intensity set him apart from most professional fighters that you saw. And then I saw him spar, and my God, he was having an easy time with guys he shouldn’t have been having an easy time with.”

Among those guys was Juan Lazcano, who in September of that year would annex the lightweight title from Stevie Johnston.

“Lazcano couldn’t hang with him,” says Fischer. “I think Lazcano sparred with him two or three times and decided he’d be better off at Joe Goossen’s gym in the valley sparring with [former and future world champion] Joel Casamayor.”

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The Modern Day Edwin Valero?

Joe Joyce

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IT was a furious year of action for London super-heavyweight Joe Joyce. He entered the national elite England Boxing championships and fought his way through the London stages. He rediscovered a vein of ominous form as he passed through the quarter and semi-finals. He met GB rival and team-mate Frazer Clarke in the final. They engaged in an epic three-round war with Joyce forcing a stoppage in the last.

He remained dominant at the Commonwealth Games, crushing his opposition, seizing the gold medal and winning over the crowd in Glasgow with his trademark celebratory back flip.

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Don’t miss the first issue in January for Boxing News’ choices for the best amateur boxers of 2014

Scott Fitzgerald

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SCOTT FITZGERALD was an unlikely champion at the Commonwealth Games. He had won the domestic ABA championships in 2013 but hadn’t been able to repeat the feat this year at welterweight. But the Larches & Savick boxer performed well in international competition and was selected for Glasgow 2014. There everything clicked into place. He may have picked up a bad cut over his eye and damaged his hand but he fought through it, showcasing a powerful left hook. He won a tremendous war with New Zealand’s Bowyn Morgan and blasted Mandeep Jangra off his feet at the start of their final, outpointing him to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal in excellent style.

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Don’t miss the first issue of January for Boxing News’ amateur boxers of the year

Reece McFadden

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SCOTTISH boxers rose to the occasion at the Commonwealth Games, harnessing the energy of tremendous crowd support. Flyweight Reece McFadden encapsulated that spirit. He scored a huge upset win over Andrew Selby at the start of the tournament. The Welshman was the world number one and the hot favourite to win gold. Reece beat him, underscored the effort with a points victory over England’s Charlie Edwards to finish his Glasgow 2014 campaign with a bronze medal. He then defeated another GB flyweight in Jack Bateson at the Tammer tournament later in the year. Expect Reece to be a fixture on the amateur boxing scene.

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Don’t miss the first issue of January for Boxing News’ amateur boxers of the year

Paddy Barnes

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PADDY BARNES is one of the elite in the amateur sport. He’s already medalled at two editions of the Olympic Games, he is a former European champion and earlier this year he became the first boxer from Northern Ireland to win two Commonwealth Games gold medals. He may be a light-flyweight but he packs a serious punch. He overpowers lesser opposition but also applies intelligent aggression. The only major medal missing from his collection is one from the World championships. He’ll look to put that right in 2015.

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Don’t miss the first issue of January for Boxing News’ amateur boxers of the year