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Amateur Scene – the boxers to watch this week

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In this week's Amateur Scene, Hoddesdon perform in Sweden and Nina Hughes is still winning tournaments

Hoddesdon team impress again at the King of the Ring

HODDESDON Boxing Academy took a large squad of 19 boxers, ranging from 10 to 25 years of age, to the King of the Ring tournament in Boras, Sweden last month.

“This year was a challenge for us as we sent a developing squad of boxers with minimal experience. However all super talented and the test was to see how they competed at a higher level than they have ever competed,“ said coach Sab Leo. The selection process paid off as Hoddesdon won the Best Team award again with a total of eight gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.

Standing out was Brady Cronin, who boxed three times to win his gold. He followed a points victory in the quarter-final over Herman Ek (BK Ringen) with a destructive stoppage against Dimitri Nickanchov (Sunsvile BK). In the final Cronin continued to dominate with a captivating performance over Dennis Niladra (Linkoping BC) that had the crowd on its feet. A brisk start in the opening round set up high level combination punching which brought a standing eight count.

Elite national champion Hamza Mehmood also went on a run of victories in Sweden. “We took a gamble and moved Hamza up a weight category to 56kgs to gain more experience for his upcoming GB trial,” said Leo.

First up for Mehmood was Swedish International Ali Resai (Hanninge BK), a small compact opponent happy to box at range and wait for Hamza’s advances. Nevertheless the Hoddesdon boxer still drew Resai in before catching him with clean counters. One such combination staggered Resai into a corner. Hamza then dished out a masterclass securing a unanimous win. In his semi-final a combination of speed, skill and footwork saw Hamza bamboozle Sri Lankan opponent Gnisal Bandag.

Then he met classy international boxer Erduran Besira (Lindkoping BK). Hamza started probing with his jab before changing angles to catch the advancing Besira clean with one-two combinations. But despite his performance a split decision went against him. Sab Leo said, “He boxed three times at a higher weight class and deserved better. His performances stood out throughout and he was in the end rewarded with the trophy for Best Fight Of The tournament.”

Other gold medal winners were Jawad Ilyas over Mo Raza (BK Puma), Ronnie Nickolds, boxing twice against Owen Wilson (Love CPC) and Johan Johassen (Boras SW), and Richard O’Driscoll against Zia Saunadi (Boras SW) and Hadi Hadrus (Malmo BK).

The returning Brandon Foster Sweeney also boxed twice to land gold, winning with classy performances in both his semi-final and final, against John McCarthy (Jobstown BC) and Mo Mirjalolov (Botkyrka BK) respectively.

“Another successful trip but on this occasion the officiating was not as consistent as the previous year’s but our team showed character and were unfazed,” said Leo. “We came as a team and we won as a team.”

Hughes, Campbell and more delighted to take gold at the women’s Winter Box Cup

AT 37 years old Nina Hughes is still winning. She was victorious at the England Boxing Women’s Winter Box Cup at the Guildford Spectrum on December 8. She unanimously outpointed Repton’s Zeina Nassar at 57kgs.

“I really enjoyed being out there,” said Hughes, from the Chadwell St Mary club. “I watched her box in her semi-final, but it often turns out differently to what you plan when you get in the ring… Zeina pushed me hard and I was pleased to win in the end and be a champion here.

“It’s a very important event because it helps girls get extra bouts and gives them the taste of a multi-ring event.

“It’s good to give younger boxers the chance to gain experience and you can see the standard, with the help of events like this, is rising all the time. It’s certainly moved on a lot since I first started.”

Islington’s Jem Campbell, the reigning England Boxing National Amateur champion, was named Best Elite Boxer. She took on Haringey’s Deayndre Allen, edging out her London rival on a split decision.

European Junior medallists from Ireland and England met in the Junior 50kgs category. Leinster’s Robyn Kelly, who had taken a bronze medal at the Europeans in Romania in May, defeated Minster Golden Gloves’ Shelby-Marie Lee, who’d claimed the silver there. “I was nervous at first and I knew it was going to be a tough bout because she had also won a medal at the European championships,” said the split decision victor. “I tried to control the bout with my jab, but it was a bit scrappy at times.

“It was great to be in a bout that was on the BBC and I know there were a lot of family and friends cheering me on back home.”

Empire’s Savannah Stubley had won the Best Boxer prize in the inaugural women’s Winter Box Cup last year. A Youth 51kgs boxer, she beat Wildcard’s Rebecca Unsworth. “I’m so proud to have been a double champion at the Box Cup in its first two years,” Stubley said. “I think my final was a good, skilful bout. I’ve trained every day for this and I love it – I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

Patricia Mbata was in action for Finchley at welterweight and was a quick victor over Andrea Marshall of the Royal Navy. The Londoner was too strong and forced a stoppage in the first round. Mbata, who had beaten Jess David of Dyanamics in her semi-final, was named the tournament’s Most Promising Elite Boxer. “I wasn’t expecting my bout to end that quickly, but I’m delighted to have won,” she said. “All my training has paid off and I boxed to my game plan and I was not going to be denied… I was just too psyched and determined to win.

“The Women’s Winter Box Cup is a great platform for women and girls who are boxing at all levels to perform on.”

The inaugural winners of the Best Team Award was shared jointly by Ireland’s Leinster Female Boxing and Mesa Sports of the Netherlands.
Most Promising Youth Boxer was Leanne Murphy of Togher, while Best Youth Boxer was Daina Moorehouse of Leinster Female Boxing. Best Junior Boxer was Charan Dhesi of East Hull and Most Promising Junior Boxer was Belvedere’s Hayley Riddle.

Brandon stage show and raise money for charity

ON their home show last month Brandon Boxing Club served up 13 bouts, with one of their boxers in each one.

The event also raised funds for Group 25 who take disabled and disadvantaged children to Lourdes and friend of the club Lisa Allison who is recovering at home after suffering from a stroke in the summer.

John Dixon was Best Junior boxer with his opponent Braydon Close acquitting himself well after taking the bout at less than 24 hours notice.

Euan Oakes, Jackson Smurthwaite, Kurtis Bone, Clarke Lennon, Alfie Murphy, Jordan Fletcher and Jack Coglan picked up solid wins, while Ellis Jones dropped a tight split decision.

Coglan was elevated to top the bill and ground out a well deserved win to take Bout of the Night.

They had nearly had to cancel the event all together. “Due to this horrible bug going around together with some weak excuses we thought we’d have to pull the show,” coach Alex Oliver explained.

But he added, “We had a sell-out crowd and the place was bouncing, what an atmosphere they created cheering each and every contestant regardless of which corner they were in.”

Harwich stage 15 bout show

HARWICH boxing club hosted their annual winter show at the Park Pavilion on December 7 with 15 bouts that all went the distance.

Highlight for the home team saw recently crowned Development Class B 69kgs champion Kilian Hardy grind out a close yet unanimous points decision against Fitzroy Lodge’s Mo Said, with Kilian boxing from distance in a good final round.

81kgs Conor Harvey picked up Best Home Boxer award and a unanimous points decision in his come-from-behind performance against Ashford ABC’s Daniel Achong.  After losing the first, Conor grew in confidence as his combinations found the mark.

RESULTS
(Harwich unless otherwise stated) R. John (Islington) outpd by P. Foster unan, Z. Kasemmi (Hemel Hempstead) outpd S. Walton (Colchester) split, F. Smith (Ashford) outpd C. Murphy (Centurions) unan, B. Gray (Stallards) outpd by E.Bird unan, G. Dennington (Nemesis) outpd O. Priestley unan, D. Achong (Ashford) outpd by C. Harvey unan, R. Osei-Robb (Fitzroy Lodge) outpd T. Dodson (Stallards) unan, L. Carter (Ashford) outpd by C. Hughes (Islington) unan, A. Bristow (Ashford) outpd by K. Ayling unan, T. Cullen (Harlow) outpd A. McCann (Colchester) split, M. Said (Fitzroy Lodge) outpd by K. Hardy unan, B. Noor (Stallards) outpd J. Burton (Islington) split, C. Gordon (Harlow) outpd K. Karczewska (Colchester) unan.

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