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Amateur Scene – ‘So many young people need something to belong to’

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We highlight three amateur clubs and their hopes for the year ahead

South Wye has had a good year, writes Matt Bozeat

SOUTH Wye Police ABC had a good year in 2019. Othman Said and Rhiannon Roberts both reached Development finals and next season should see the return of the club’s first national champion. Yusuf Abdallah has rarely boxed since wining Development Class B honours in 2018, coach Vince McNally explaining: “Yusuf is a junior doctor and has been working so many hours he hasn’t been able to get to the gym. “From September, he will be working regular hours and then we can look at getting him out again. We’re looking at the Elites in 2021 for him.”

Abdallah has Egyptian parents, while Othman is from Libya and McNally reports an Iranian refugee has recently started at the gym. “We have people from all over the world here,” said McNally, “and there’s such a good feel to the gym.

“So many young people need something to belong to.”

The club capped their 2019 with their annual Christmas show on December 21 and Cameron Heggie took home the Boxer of the Night trophy after starring in front of a sell-out crowd. 22-year-old Heggie outpointed Anton Nelson (Jewellery Quarter). Nelson was a couple of inches taller but couldn’t stay with Heggie after a back-and-forth opening round. Nelson struggled to keep Heggie off him in the second to leave the bout in the balance going into the last. Nelson let his hands go – and Heggie punched with him. It was the more compact and heavy-handed Heggie who got the better of the exchanges, forcing Nelson onto the retreat. Heggie did a good job of hunting Nelson down, forcing him to engage and then outpunching him with to win unanimously.

Cruisers George Masters (South Wye) and Rhys Watkins (Pontypool) served up another give-and-take battle. They swapped counts in the opening two rounds and Masters finished stronger to win a split.

Vladimir Nikulin took less than a minute to win his debut, the South Wye cruiser dropping Arran Kelter (Phoenix) twice with right hands. The taller Kelter stuck out a jab and Nikulin whipped over an right hand that smacked into his chin. Nikulin didn’t let him off the hook. The referee waved it off after Nikulin dumped Kelter on the seat of his trunks with a right hand down the pipe.

Venerable club Rosehill has bright ambitions for the future, writes John Dennen

THE enthusiasm is infectious. On a dark night in early January the small club is full of young boxers and volunteer coaches getting ready for the year ahead.

“I’m really enjoying what I’m doing,” Rosehill head coach Joe Harley tells Boxing News. “You come to the boxing gym, you can go home and be like a purring kitten drinking a saucer of milk. That’s what it does for you. It takes everything away, all that anger or whatever you get.”

The club is busy with juniors, which in turn will buoy their boxers at senior level. Rosehill, established all the way back in 1947, has a long history, even if recent years have been quiet ones for the gym. But the coaches and volunteers have regrouped and look set to take it to a new level. The club will be more active, getting their boxers out to compete and join in sparring days as well as planning to host five shows of their own in total this season.

“We’ve pulled together to give the club another boost,” Harley adds. “I’m getting them out on a regular basis so they’re learning.”

Rosehill had a Schools titlist in Denis Sorokins last year and is hoping for more championship success. “We’re in early stages, I reckon in a couple years, it’s going to happen,” the experienced Harley said. “It’s just a matter of hitting that target again but I think once you’ve been there, you’ve more chance of hitting it again.”

Harley’s time has seen Luke and Lenny Daws winning amateur titles, Lenny of course went on to become a British champion and European challenger as a professional but always kept a close connection to Rosehill.

The coaches’ focus on the junior boxers should establish a firm foundation for the future. “The best thing you could ever have as a coach as well is when you’re training a kid on the pads and then it’s working for him,” Harley says.

Young boxers gather at the Rosehill amateur boxing club

Steve Cook boxed for the club himself as junior and is now one of their coaches. He gets the same kind of satisfaction from the work too. “I love bringing them from when they first walk into the gym to when they first step in the ring, that’s the bit I love, their parents coming over to me saying how brilliant they’ve done, the kid’s changed. I just like to see them progress. That’s my vocation in life,” he said warmly. “It’s more of a family here… If you become a trainer, you also become a mentor, you also become a father figure, a shoulder to cry on, you become loads of things.”
Cook has experienced first hand himself how boxing can turn lives around. The club of course instils discipline in the youngsters there. The boxers shake hands with all their coaches after their training session. Respect is all part of the value of the club. “Why do you answer your teacher back at school and you don’t answer your boxing coaches back? [Teaching them] things like that,” reflects Harley.

Rosehill is needed in its area too. “We’re bang in the middle of the St. Helier housing estate, which is one of the poorest housing estates in greater London. So there are literally thousands of kids in poverty and struggling,” Ian Hutchison, who came on as chairman, explains. “It’s the perfect area for it. Kids here are going to go one way or the other.

“There’s a club here, full of dedicated people, not for profit. Come down and learn boxing and everything that boxing entails, the discipline side of it.”
Rosehill is hoping to raise funds to expand its facilities. In the meantime it will maintain itself by continuing to host shows. “It’s all about the kids, nobody earns a penny out of this club. It’s just self-funding really, we’ve just got to get the funds in to keep going, to be able to do our home shows to create a little bit of extra profit to go back into the club,” Hutchison said.

The latest event was held on December 7 (see below), featuring Sorokins, who’s back with Purley ABC, as well as the club’s current boxers to watch out for in future.

RESULTS (Rosehill unless stated otherwise) Senior: Marcelo Garcia outpd by Alvaras Ivanauskas (Dynamo), Billy Clarke outpd Henry Walter (Foley), George Nimson outpd by Denzal Dadson (Dwaynamics). Youth: Mario Ducally outpd Adam Latreche (Legends). Junior: Clayson Barber outpd Zain Khan (Fight Knights), Denis Sorokins (Purley) outpd by Lewis Barone (Repton), Leah Coton outpd Chloe Zanetti (Hornets), Ben Falzon (Purley) outpd Louis Sanders (Legends), Grace Hutchison stpd Josie Chetter (London Community Boxing), Max Pipkin outpd by Hassan Riaz (Uxbridge).

The West Kingsdown boxing club looks forward to an active 2020

IN 2020 the West Kingsdown club are looking forward to another busy year. In 2019 the club held five shows, culminating in their third annual ‘Christmas Cracker’ event. It was the club’s fourth dinner show and another sell out.

10 of their boxers were matched, three in skills contests but with the club producing six winners out of seven on their show at the Brandshatch Mercure last month.

Max Shephard and Jimmy Sheridan, of Repton, produced a bout of real quality in an all-southpaw affair. Shepard grew in confidence, with a fine last round seeing him home by a unanimous decision. He was later awarded boxer of the night by recent world title challenger, John Ryder.

Kielan Bannon and Surbiton’s Thomas Clark were later voted bout of the night. Bannon’s busy, pressure-fighting style won him the first two rounds. Clark’s strong third, in which he administered a standing eight count, closed the gap but Bannon’s good early work saw him take the split decision.

Sam Woodhead beat Daniel Elliott of Felbridge & East Grinstead in the only senior bout of the night with the two middleweights slugging it out for three hard rounds.

Minster GG’s Sammy Wood outpointed West Kingsdown’s George Foy. Kieran Moran edged out Joel Viera, Repton, on a split decision. Louis Driver secured a third-round stoppage win over a game Brandon Lewis, Hornets. Zak Rogers with the greater accuracy won a unanimous decision over St Pancras’ Owen Marquerio.

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