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Amateur

Rising stars: The stage is set for the finals of the National Amateur Championships

national amateur championships
Andy Chubb/England Boxing
Plenty of upsets light up the semi-finals and quarterfinals of the National Amateur championships. Matt Bozeat reports from Cannock

TOP seed Ramtin Musah had back-to-back wins over a pair of England internationals at Chase Leisure Centre, December 4-5, to reach the middleweight final of the National Amateur Championships. In the last eight, Musah, beaten by Mark Dickinson in the 2019 final, got on top of southpaw Dan Toward (Birtley) to win unanimously. He was then a split (4-1) points winner over George Liddard (Billericay) in the semi finals. Liddard fought out of his skin to stay with Musah for a round and then found Musah (Beartown) had an extra gear or two. Musah had him under fire for much of the last two sessions under fire.

Musah meets Billy Le Poullain (Amalgamated) in the final at the University of East London on Saturday (December 11). The 2018 Commonwealth Games rep stopped Jimmy Sains (Repton) inside a round and outpointed Joe Bartell (Guildford) on a split.

Joe Tyers and Courtney Bennett – No 1 seeds at 64kgs and super-heavyweight respectively – went out in the semi finals. 

Tyers (Billingham) had looked so impressive when beating strong Birtley southpaw Brandon Morrison in the quarter finals, but couldn’t solve the riddle that is Ibraheem ‘Spider’ Sulaimaan (Eastside) in the last four. ‘Spider’ won a 3-2 split decision and faces Owen Durnan (Manor) on Saturday who outpointed Mitchell Asare (White Hart Lane) on a split.

Bennett was beaten by chunky Westree southpaw Harvey Dykes. The referee called it off in the third on the doctor’s advice after she examined a cut on Bennett’s left eyebrow and ruled it was a punch that caused the injury. The wound was opened by a clash of heads in Bennett’s semi-final win over Michael Lindsay (Newark). He went on to win that fight unanimously, handing Lindsay a count in the second and dropping him in the last, but struggled to get to grips with the underestimated Dykes, who beat former top Youth William Howe (Headland) unanimously in the quarter finals. Dykes, whose younger brother Charlie won Youth Development honours seven days earlier, moved around on the outside looking for back hands that usually landed and he dug in body shots when Bennett fell short. The action was sometimes messy. Bennett (Royal Resistance) was told off for holding at the bell to end the opening round, he looked frustrated. He landed his best shots in the dying moments of the second after the doctor examined his eye, but Dykes took them well and fired back.

Dykes now meets Victor Ogbo (Border City) in the final, a repeat of the 2019 Development Class B final, won by Dykes on points. Ogbo appears to have tidied up his boxing since then. Against Ste Ferguson (Marybone) in the semi finals, Ogbo looked solid and boxed at a good pace throughout to take a 4-1 split.

The first shock of the weekend came at 52kgs where No 1 seed Hamza Mehmood (Hoddesdon) had his bid for a third straight title ended by Ibrahim Shakil (Eastside) in the quarter finals.

Shakil won unanimously. Mehmood appeared to control the first round from the centre of the ring before Shakil started finding gaps for his pot shots in the second. The third was scrappy with too much missing and holding – until the final minute. Shakil found the target with enough eye-catching singles to make sure of the unanimous vote.

He was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision the following day, Yusuf Thahmin (Haringey) outpointing him.

Thahmin meets Eryk Cirureja (Fenland Sports) in the final after he beat 2015 European Schoolboy champion Cameron Paul (Pinewood Starr) on a split in the last four.

2019 champion – and No 1 seed – Aaron Bowen (Box Smart Elite) is through to the final at 81kgs.

He dominated Sonny Coates (RAF) in the semi-finals, winning unanimously without hitting top gear.  

The previous day, Bowen, winner of gold at the Golden Gong in Macedonia last month, outslugged and outboxed rangy puncher Adam Olaore (Empire School of Boxing) to win by a 4-1 split, leaving him on rubbery legs at the final bell.

In the final, Bowen meets Omar Augustine (Earlsfield), who has two wins over him, including the 2019 NABGC Championship final.

Augustine had unanimous wins over the stubborn and game Liam Forrest (Moulescoomb) and Dean Bridge (Jennings Gym).

The taller Augustine was busy with his lead hand against Bridge – feinting and doubling up his long jab – before really getting down to business.

Bridge tried to slug with Augustine – and was outgunned. Augustine had him in some trouble in the last with body punches.

The welterweight final will be between Patrick Hewitt (Leigh) and Owen Rees (Birtley), brother of 2018 light-heavyweight champion Ben.

Hewitt impressed in his semi-final win over tall southpaw James Le Poidevin (Royal Army).

Le Poidevin tried to box around Hewitt, but by the final minute of the opening round, his feet were slowing and he was looking to hold. Hewitt went up a gear in the second, attacking his body ferociously and when Le Poidevin lay on the ropes and his hands dropped, Hewitt smacked him flush on the chin with a couple of clean shots to force a count.

Le Poidevin couldn’t keep Hewitt off him on the resumption, taking another standing count and being shaken up again before it was stopped.

Rees beat Box Smart Elite southpaw Tyrrell Cummings on a technical verdict. The bout went to the cards in the second after Rees was cut.

At heavyweight, No 1 seed Thomas Pogson (Skegness) reached the final with a pair of unanimous points wins.

Pogson, beaten by Natty Ngwenga in the 2019 final, used his lead hand effectively against the towering Cavan O’Brien (Camp Detox) and his feet were too quick for Aston’s heavy handed Traie Duberry in the last four.

Next is Patrick Brown (Moss Side Fire), who reached the final with a third-round stoppage of Iman Zahmatkesh (Heart of Portsmouth).

Top seed Carnell Brown (Army) used a thumping jab to dominate Bodyshots’ Tommy Hyde, beaten in the Irish final in October, in their semi final at 86kgs and faces Jacob Sharman (Marden) in the final after he beat Jack Bettaney (Hulton Abbey) unanimously.

One of the best women’s bouts was the quarter final at 57kgs between Sameena Toussaint (New Kings) and Elise Glynn (Hall Green).

Both have won medals at the European junior championships – Glynn won gold in 2017, Toussaint bronze the following year – and they produced a top-quality contest.

Glynn outpointed Toussaint in the NABGC championship in 2019 and for me, she won the opening round in Cannock. Toussaint found the answers. She was quicker to the punch in the second and had the last word in the exchanges throughout the last.

Toussaint went on to show a wonderful array of punches in her semi-final win over the very spirited Bethany Warne (Devonport). The decision was unanimous.     

Toussaint meets Roni Dean (Thetford) in the final after she won a split over Lily Devlin (Army) in the last four.

At 60kgs, Hannah Robinson, the No 1 seed from PS Boxing, was too slick for the much taller Michelle Cox (Premier Boxing) in their semi final and won unanimously to set up a final against Jessica Barry (Christ The King).

Barry’s semi-final win over Sunni Torgman (Islington) was her 18th straight victory, but she will find Robinson harder to catch.          

There was a semi-final exit for Hannah Shield, the No 1 seed at 64kgs. For two rounds, Sarah Dunne (Metro) repeatedly walked the Birtley boxer onto rights and left hooks. There were some hard exchanges in the last and Dunne got the better of most of them.

In the final, Dunne meets 2019 welterweight champion Jem Campbell (Islington), a winner over Charlotte Wild (Aspire) in the semi finals.

The finals of the National Amateur Championships take place on Saturday (December 11) at the University of East London’s SportsDock. They will be broadcast on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and will be well worth watching.

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