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National Amateur Championships – Contenders assemble

National Amateur Championship
The later stages of England Boxing’s National Amateur Championships set up intriguing finals, writes John Dennen

CINDY NGAMBA and Omarah Taylor both have international ambitions and set themselves up for an intriguing 70kgs final in the England Boxing National Amateur Championships when they both won their respective semi-finals at the University of East London’s SportsDock on Sunday (April 10).

Halliwell’s Ngamba found Ileana Ingram’s defences far too open. Ngamba lined up easy jabs, hitting the Aston boxer solidly. They opened paths for hard rights to the head and Ngamba handed Ingram a count in the first round. Those single clean crosses were forceful. Ngamba gave her another count in the second round and forced a stoppage.

Taylor, of Box Smart Elite, had a more taxing semi-final against the Royal Navy’s Sophie Colebourn. Moving well on her feet, Taylor whipped in her cross, backing up Colebourn. Omarah’s straight shots, well thrown, gave the Navy boxer problems. But Colebourn ploughed forward regardless and fought her way back into the contest. Her game efforts to close down Taylor continued into the third round but the slicker work from Taylor secured a unanimous decision victory.

Repton middleweight Jimmy Sains had to pick himself up from the canvas to win his semi-final. Hall Green southpaw Will Smith uncorked a tremendous straight left that caught Sains flush. It popped Sains backwards onto the seat of his shorts but he rose quickly and, after a count, rapidly recovered himself. Sains got back on his trusty jab. He began timing his cross to catch Smith as he lunged in. He negated Smith’s own quick jab and by the third round was on top, catching Smith with a hurtful right uppercut and winning a unanimous decision.

In the other 75kgs semi-final Dan Toward defused the aggression of Panthers’ Lloyd Farrington. The Birtley southpaw took the centre of the ring, tapping Farrington with his jab to stop him coming in. Toward held his right out and banged his left into the body. Confidence clearly growing, Toward moved round him with his gloves low. Farrington stormed forward when he could but Toward tended to beat him to the punch and won unanimously.

Repton lightweight Giorgio Visioli also caught the eye, unanimously outscoring North Fire and Rescue’s Connor Samms to progress to the finals. In the women’s lightweight division Afewee’s Vivien Parsons, formerly a top Youth boxer, reached the Elite final in her first year as a senior when she outpointed Premier Boxing’s Michelle Cox on a split decision.

At 50kgs Terri Naylor, representing Fight For Peace, rallied in good style to beat Box Smart Elite’s Tayla Rushton. Rushton clipped Naylor with shots to the head, then moved off. As Naylor came on, Rushton launched her right in, following it up with a left hook. But Naylor was not discouraged. Terri charged forward to land her jab. Heavy rights crashed over. She would give Rushton counts in both the second and thirds rounds. That strength, power and determination forced a unanimous decision her way.

Empire’s Savannah Stubley won the other 50kgs semi-final. She outboxed St. Ives’ Millie Symons. Stubley stepped out to the side and sent her right down. She put together combinations, slipping away from Symons’ attacks and even administering a count in the final round, taking a unanimous decision win.

St. Ives had two other boxers in the semi-finals. Megan Morris unanimously outpointed the Royal Navy’s Britney Walker at 54kgs. At 63kgs St. Ives’ Harli Whitwell started brightly against Sacha Hickey, firing off a one-two and her left hook. But Peacock’s Hickey will be hard to beat. A tall southpaw, she began to dictate the pace of the bout. Finding a rhythm, Hickey slammed a lead hook in and a hefty cross. She took control, catching Whitwell with her left again in the third round to give her a count. Hickey won unanimously.

Hoddesdon’s Ellis Trowbridge is looking to defend the Elite title he won last year. At 48kgs the southpaw used his fast, long left to tag Turner’s Ben Litwin. His deft movement set up heavy crosses. He knocked Litwin back and gave him a count in the first round. Trowbridge maintained that ascendancy to win a unanimous decision.

In a rematch of last year’s super-heavyweight Elite final Hillcrest’s Harvey Dykes was hugely satisfied to take a revenge win over Border City’s Ike Ogbo, working his southpaw jab well as he moved in and out. Ogbo applied pressure but Dykes was a unanimous points winner.

Adam Olaore’s power came through when a left hook blasted Teagn Stott off his feet in their first round. The Sheffield BC boxer showed plenty of heart when he rose to fight back. Empire’s Olaore strove to make that power tell again but Stott edged him out on a split decision.

Jack Dryden booked his place in the 57kgs final with a fine victory over Leigh’s Cain Morris. Birtley’s Dryden judged the distance between them well, even as Morris looked to use his strength and trade punches. Dryden slid away from his hook. His fast straight shots were telling and Dryden took a unanimous points verdict. Shaun Huddart was the third Birtley boxer to reach the Elite finals after he handled Fareham’s Louis Small. Huddart doubled his jab to set up his cross. He continued to slam that right through. Shaun won a split decision to set up what promises to be a tremendous 54kgs final against Dagenham’s Darren Bailey. Against Bailey Fearless’ Salil Khan moved round the outer fringes of the ring but the Londoner chased after him with rapid-fire jabs. Blending aggression with his skill, Bailey swung his left hook round to slow Khan. Although Salil took moments to heave his right over, Bailey secured a split decision win.

Moss Side Fire’s Pat Brown went to war with ELBA’s Jack Daly at 92kgs. With accurate shots to the head, Brown set up thudding left hooks to the body. Daly, game to the end, threw hefty punches back but Brown continued to drive forward and took a unanimous decision over his bruised and bloodied opponent.

QUARTER-FINALS

OP seeds were upset in the quarter-finals of England Boxing’s National Amateur Championships at the University of East London’s SportsDock on Saturday (April 9).

GB entrant and number one seed at 57kgs, John O’Meara lost a close one to Highfields’ Edward Hardy. The Dale Youth southpaw didn’t find it easy to settle but still clipped Hardy on the way in with his left uppercut. Undaunted Hardy pushed forward, driving O’Meara back a step with his right. Hardy became more desperate in the third round, unnerved by a cut above his right eye. That stopped the contest but going to the cards Hardy pipped the Londoner on a split decision. Hardy though would not be able to contest the semi-final.

Featherweight is a good division. Also at 57kgs Leigh’s Cain Morris looked brutally strong against Halstead & Essex Uni’s Taylor Jackson-Smith. Morris bombed in behind a straight one-two. He continued to pop in shots to Jackson-Smith’s head and handed him a count in the second round. Morris set up tremendous hits with his back hand in the third round as well and forced a stoppage.

Birtley’s Jack Dryden won well in that division. He eased his way into his contest with Dagenham’s Billy Adams, stepping back from the southpaw’s jab to maintain the distance between them. Finding his range, he swept his right into Adams’ body. Dryden came forward with a left hook and opened up more in the second round. He caught Adams with solid two punch combinations and reigning champion Adams had a point taken off for holding. Billy worked to catch up to him after that but Dryden continued to move well, relaxing on to the back foot and winning unanimously.
Chaos broke out in Lennox Gill’s 57kgs bout with Croxteth’s Jack Turner. The Croxteth boxer barrelled into Golden Ring’s Gill. Heads collided and Turner also clubbed hooks into Gill. Frustrated, Gill was also hurt and had to be stopped.

Super-heavyweight saw another GB entrant and top seed upset when Courtney Bennett lost to Hoddesdon’s Gideon Antwi. Antwi rushed at Bennett at the opening bell. Though too often they got caught up clinches, Bennett to managed to find room for cleaner shots. Never deterred, Antwi continued to march forward, moving Bennett back. Gideon unearth a new intensity, exactly what he needed, in the final round, clumping hooks into Bennett, outworking him and seizing a split decision victory.

Super-heavy Harvey Dykes doesn’t cut an imposing figure in the ring, but the Hillcrest southpaw drew in Headland’s bigger William Howe and worked his way to a unanimous win.

There’s talent in the 54kgs division. Dagenham’s Darren Bailey looked good once again as he unanimously outpointed One Nation’s Satpal Singh Bahra. Also at 54kgs Hoddesdon’s Kyle Quinn initially caught Shaun Huddart off guard, rattling off a brace of big shots to the head. But the Birtley boxer soon restored his composure and settled further when the Hoddesdon southpaw was deducted a point. Huddart fired in his right and plied Quinn with jabs. By the third round he was confidently landing crosses and made sure of a unanimous decision win.

Fine bouts worthy of being finals also took place at this early stage. Ivan Duniak of Rotunda won a close bout over Amalgamated’s Billy Le Poullain on a split decision in a 71kgs quarter-finals. Leigh’s Patrick Hewitt and Sunderland’s Travis Waters also impressed in their 67kgs quarter-final, Hewitt prevailing after an injury stopped the contest.

Also at welterweight, Huey Malone of Christ the King jumped on Salisbury’s Odell Kamara. Using his physicality he snagged the young Liverpudlian on the end of a hard right. Bouncing a left hook into Odell’s side he dragged Kamara out of his rhythm. He drew Kamara into a brawl and kept it uncomfortable. Penalised three times for holding in the last round the referee had to disqualify Odell. A rough introduction to the later stages of the Elites maybe but Kamara, a Youth champion only last December, can be expected to bounce back.

Quality fighters are massing in the middleweight division. Birtley southpaw Dan Toward overcame Rotunda’s Stephen Clarke in style. Clarke dived in towards him but soon in the first round Toward found the mark for his punches. Leading with his back hand he stung him with a strong left-right. Long one-twos would follow and he finished the first round with a burst of punches to the head. Toward continued to moved round Clarke in commanding fashion, denying the Rotunda boxer opportunities to pin him down and making sure he progressed with a unanimous decision win.

Jimmy Sains threw straight punches well. He brought Goole’s Owen Edwards onto his cross and steadily jabbed to the head and body. Sains used his left well, hooking off that jab. He kept control and would not be denied, taking a unanimous decision win.

Panthers middleweight Lloyd Farrington caught the eye with his sustained aggression. He blasted heavy shots into Sandygate’s Angelo Wade, keeping him under pressure, handing him a count as Farrington won a unanimous decision. Also at 75kgs Hall Green southpaw Will Smith boxed tidily, manoeuvring the RAF’s Brad Axe onto the ropes. Smith threw neat jabs, shooting his left cross straight in and winning unanimously.

At cruiserweight Sheffield BC’s Teagn Stott delivered a display of neat boxing too. Against Sudbury’s Jake Sumner he showed variety in his work. His left hook landed over the top and he dug his back hand in as an uppercut, hooking it round again. Sumner flung his cross at Stott and worked hard as he tried to pin Teagn on the ropes but could not stop Stott taking a unanimous decision. Also at 86kgs Empire School of Boxing’s Adam Olaore uncorked his power, dropping Marybone’s Ste Ferguson heavily and stopping him impressively.

For full results from the semi-finals and quarter-finals see www.englandboxing.org.

The finals of the National Amateur Championships will take place on April 23 at Manchester Central.

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