Young Chichester boxer Billy Valentine Lavelle made his pro debut at the famous York Hall in Bethnal Green.
His original opponent Dan Carr pulled out, leaving the St Gerard’s member’s camp only four days to find a suitable opponent.
They found one, Northern Ireland’s Eddie Nesbitt, and Lavelle had to drop in weight, but Lavelle’s coaches were concerned they could not find out much about Nesbitt.
Nesbitt threw very big haymakers from the off, and Lavelle, on the back foot, took a few but got through the round.
Coaches told Lavelle to tighten his guard and push away from Nesbitt’s big shots but two minutes into the second, Lavelle got caught with a devastating left hook which sent him to the canvas.
He took an eight count on one knee but saw out the round through wise boxing.
In the third Lavelle turned to southpaw and it was closer, with Nesbitt still throwing some real bangers.
The last round saw Lavelle’s fans on their feet as his supreme fitness carried him through before a points verdict went against him.
Coach Gareth Ferguson said: “We were really proud of Billy and his performance against a big puncher on his debut. We knew he’d lost but performed well in adversity.
“His chin and mettle can never be questioned and as a young pro this will stand him in good stead for the future.
“We found out young Nesbitt had boxed for Ireland and is supposed to be one of the next best things out of Ireland. If we’d known we’d never have taken the contest.
“But the positive is Billy got through the four rounds.
“We now regroup and get ready for the next contest.
“Billy will be campaigning as a super-featherweight.”
Meanwhile St Gerards travelled to Crawley with Olly Jones for the Sussex round of the ABAE novice championships. Jones weighed in just inside the light-middleweight allowance of 71kg.
There were four boxers in Jones’ group and he was drawn against the Brighton city club’s Markus Jaffe, who was 6ft 3in tall.
The first round found Jones trying to get under Jaffe’s long reach but Jaffe took the first round.
In the second round Jones upped his game and was tough to call.
Then in the third Jones stalked and pounded his way forward, catching Jaffe with some cracking shots – the left hook especially on target.
Jones won on points and goes forward to the final bidding to be the new Sussex novice champ.
Coach Ash Sutherland said: “He is a special young lad with a bright future.”