THE national Elite championships reached the pre quarter-final stage at the Spiceball leisure centre in Banbury on November 28.
At 75kgs Dan Toward showed that he is one to watch against Hodbox’s Sam King. The two began by feinting, looking to establish their respective jabs. The Birtley southpaw’s hand speed began to cut through. He swept his back hand into the body. Those shots landed with a solid thud. Soon he was striking through quick one-twos. He measured the distance between them well, swaying his head back from King’s jab and backing smartly out of range when Sam pressed forward. Toward tapped him with his own right and his left flashed in. He was elusive, stepping out to his right, then his left, switching up the direction of his movement. King kept up his intensity, heaving his cross over. But Toward finished stabbing in a right up close, a solid shot that seemed, momentarily, to shake King. Toward took a unanimous decision win and heads into a quarter-final against Beartown’s Ramtin Musah this weekend, a bout that’s worthy of being the final.
Billericay’s George Liddard also won at middleweight. He landed heavy rights on Arran Devine, showing his power-punching from the first round. He gave Devine a count in the second and won a unanimous decision.
Hodbox’s Bill Oliphant is a towering 64kgs. But Manor’s Owen Durnam started well and continued to ramp up his momentum through the contest. He closed down the space between them quickly and blasted in his southpaw left. Oliphant fought him on the inside. With his back on the ropes he dug in a right uppercut. But Durnam was undeterred. He threw his right, then the left, before hooking that backhand into the body. Despite Oliphant tagging him, Durnam continued to swarm forward and won a unanimous decision.
Birtley’s Brandon Morrison won another 64kgs pre quarter-final. The Royal Navy’s Ben Grant kept up a high tempo of work but Morrison hit back with gusto, his southpaw combinations starting to tag Grant as he came on. Morrison drew blood from Grant’s nose and he secured a unanimous decision win.
Also at 64kgs Eastside’s Ibraheem Sulimaan progressed, taking a unanimous decision over Transport’s Anthony McKenna.
At 56kgs Salisbury’s Curtis Wiggins defeated experienced Army boxer Shamin Khan, taking a split decision.
Welterweight Billy Potter was victorious for Everton Red Triangle. He dished out punishment. Behind a double jab his right crashed into H Hour’s Jake McGuire. With another head shot he gave McGuire a count and continued to fire flush shots through. McGuire would reply with a right of his own in the second round but it just bounced off Potter. He prodded Jack into a corner and dashed another right into him. Gritty, McGuire withstood these onslaughts but couldn’t stop a unanimous decision going Potter’s way.
Moulescombe had a winner at 81kgs in Liam Forest, who unanimously outscored Epic GG’s Sonny Steele.
At 60kgs Fawaz Abid put in some good work against Anglo Boxing’s Tyler Kelly. He moved off from Kelly’s swift punches before darting back in with his quick counters. Kelly began to catch Abid in the second round, sweeping a right hook across and striking his backhand in to finish an exchange. He continued to track after Hodbox’s Abid, who slashed his right down and finished aggressively. But Kelly took a split decision win.
The last bout of the day fell to the super-heavyweights. Newark’s Michael Lindsay collided with Studio’s Simon Ibekwe. They got caught up in clinches in the first round, the referee took a point off Ibekwe for holding. The two began to find space for their work. Ibekwe swung a hook through and forced Lindsay into the ropes in the second round. But Lindsay opened up in the third. An industrious finish from Lindsay saw him driving blows into the Studio boxer and Lindsay took a unanimous decision.
These pre quarter-finals, concurrent with the Development championships and the later stages of the Youth competitions, were behind closed doors in Banbury (see below). But spectators can attend the quarterfinals and semi-finals. These will be held on Saturday and Sunday (December 4-5) at the Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock. Boxing starts at 12pm on both days. Tickets are £20 per adult, £10 per concession (over 65) and £5 per child aged six to 15, with under fives free.
BBC Sport will also screen action on iPlayer and their website, links below:
BBC live streaming links
Saturday: Click here (page not live yet).
Sunday: Click here (page not live yet).
England Boxing YouTube streaming links
Saturday, Ring A: Click here.
Saturday, Ring B: Click here.
Saturday, Ring C: Click here.
Sunday, Ring A: Click here.
Sunday, Ring B: Click here.
Sunday, Ring C: Click here.
For more information and for full results see www.englandboxing.org.
EXCELLENCE OF YOUTH
AFTER England Boxing took police advice, the championships held at the Spiceball centre in Banbury were forced to go behind closed doors. A grim predicament but it was vital to complete the competition. The finals of the Youth, Youth Cadet and Youth Development championships were taking place as well as the pre quarter-final stages of the senior Elite and national Development championships. With no tournaments taking place in 2020, losing these events this year would have been a disaster. “The decision to go behind closed doors was taken with an abundance of caution,” said England Boxing chief executive Gethin Jenkins after liaising closely with the venue and the police. “After that, our next priority was to ensure that the boxing goes ahead, rather than the event being cancelled, particularly with the knock-on ramifications that has for the following weekends.
“In making this decision, the board felt it was better to stage the event behind closed doors, rather than have no boxing at all, thereby giving those boxers who have reached this stage the chance to box for a national title.”
With a host of boxers and coaches involved over the three days of competition (November 26-28), there was still an audience throughout lengthy boxing sessions with three separate rings all in near-continuous action.
After all the disruptions caused by Covid, there was good standard of boxing, in the Youth championships particularly.
Sacha Hickey, boxing for Peacock, looked impressive. 64kgs and tall at the weight, the London southpaw dominated her semi-final on the Saturday against Trowbridge’s Morgan Baber. In the first round she landed a lead right uppercut and a following left to give Baber a count. Confident enough to drop her hands, Hickey could still lance in big shots to win a clear unanimous decision.
In the final, Burmantofts’ Millie Backhouse made it harder for Hickey. She pressured, marching forward, getting on the inside and throwing punches in volume. But Hickey established her control. She began to drive in her punches combinations. She handed Backhouse a count in the second round, another one in the third and forced a stoppage.
Afewee’s Viv Parsons won the 60kgs Youth championship title, halting Lionheart’s Lily Henderson with a sickening body shot in the first round.
Birtley’s Lee Rogers impressed against Hall Green’s Lewis Noakes in the 49kgs Youth championship final. He began landing a clean jab and intercepted Noakes’ forward forays with his left hook. Rogers feinted to the head and slammed his cross into the body. Noakes pressed him in the second round, making it closer, but Rogers pulled away in the third. He lined up fast straight one-twos, using his accurate right to jolt Noakes, outpointing the Hall Green boxer on a split decision.
In the semi-finals Noakes had been a good unanimous winner over Manor’s Zeeshan Ahmed, a southpaw with fast hands. But the Hall Green boxer adjusted his work rate, brought up the pressure and was happy to trade shots. He landed clear right crosses and made sure of the decision.
In the other 49kgs semi-final Roger snapped hard counters into Whitley’s Reuben Muston. He hit well-placed shots. Rogers landed his punches and moved off. He scored a count on Muston in the second round and a flush cross prompted another count. He kept up his movement and gave the Whitley boxer another count in the third, before lashing in a left hook prompted a stoppage.
Rogers’ Birtley clubmate Shaun Huddart also became a national Youth champion, winning the 52kgs title against Hamza Uddin from the Fearless club. Huddart was quick, landing his left hook as he backed out of an exchange. But Uddin lobbed hard rights over the top. These caught Huddart out, landing with some force. Shaun forced the pace, getting after Uddin in their third round. He kept up his attacks, landing a nice left-right combination and just taking a split decision.
Salisbury’s Odel Kamara won the 64kgs Youth championship, beating Repton’s Ram Singh on a split decision. Parson Cross’ Darren Littlewood became the Youth middleweight titlist when he beat Kieran McDaid of Jimmy Egan’s on a split decision. Chadwell St. Mary’s Isaac Okoh is a hard man to beat. A southpaw, very tall for light-heavyweight, he unanimously outscored Scarborough’s Reece Harris-Mann in the 81kgs Youth final.
West Ham has a good team of young boxers. Their Frankie Wood became a Youth bantamweight champion when he beat Lucky Gloves’ Hassan Ishaq on a unanimous decision.
In a light-flyweight Youth final Priory Park’s Kelsey Oakley was relentless as she outboxed St. Ives’ Millie Symons. Oakley threw salvoes of punches, not letting Symons into the contest and handily winning a unanimous decision. Priory Park also had a good result in the Youth finals with Mia Holland taking a split points verdict over Almonds’ Jayne Bardauskas. Bardauskas had impressed in the semi-final with a strong showing against Charan Desi. She had stormed into the East Hull boxer, landing heavy rights, giving Desi three rounds in the second and third rounds before halting her.