Young guns are stars of Chichester's big boxing show
Chichester's annual black-tie fundraising boxing show was again voted a big success.
It was held at Chichester College and expertly orgnaised by St Gerards Boxing Club and the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory.
The show started with three ‘babies’ of the boxing world – starting with ten-year-old Ryleigh Friend of St Gerards, having his first outing in a skills bout in which there is no winner.
It was all about learning for him and opponent Jack Higgins-Burnett from Titchfield. It was a Cracker with the pair showing a vast array of skills.
Next up was 11-year-old Harrison Bullen of St Gerards facing Ashraf Mohammed, 11, of Gosport ABC. They provided punters with a cracking display of boxing.
Alfie Wilson, a 13-year-old St Gerards boxer, took on Lester Baylie, 13 of Battlebridge ABC, who also delighted the crowd.
The first junior contest was between St Gerards’ Freddie Hayes, 14, and Mak Fuller of Brentwood ABC, also 14. They had boxed nearly a year ago at Fuller’s club, where he had won. Hayes had not boxed for some time but performed to perfection. He dominated with a lashing jab and cracking combinations, winning with a clear points decision.
Coaches Jon Mills and Gareth Ferguson believe Hayes could box for England if he keeps up this standard.
Next up St Gerards’ Holly Heffron, 13 fought Elsie Pattenden, 14, from Hastings Westhill ABC. This was a stunner and Heffron was on top form, with both girls giving a dazzling display.
Heffron won on a very clear points decision and St Gerards coach Gerry Lavelle said: “Holly will, in my eyes, box for England in the very near future.”
Sixteen-year-old St Gerards boxer Dennis Hayes took on Charlie Goodman, a year younger and from Battlebridge ABC. This was another cracking contest and Hayes lost on a split decision.
Coach Mills said: “Dennis hasn’t boxed in nearly a year but did the club, coaches and himself proud.”
Injuries meant St Gerards had only one senior on the card – Neil Wilson, 37, who was pitted against Max Blackburn from Battlebridge ABC.
It started well in a very close contest, but in the first round Wilson sustained a cut on his right eyelid.
Coach Mills said: “We decided to pull Neil out to prevent any further damage occurring. Our boxers are our main concern – as individuals, their health, safety and welfare are paramount. As coaches we have a duty to protect them.
“Neil was a little bit upset, but fair play to Max on his winning debut.”
The show continued with cross-matched contests set up by Lavelle. A contest between Assim Malik of Bexley ABC and Lewis Dentith of Wiseman from Waterlooville was decided on a split points decision in Dentith’s favour.
Ben Duncan of Brighton City fought Sher Khan of Crawley, Duncan taking another close points decision.
Jordan Hayes from the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment boxed Bola Boyejo from Bexley, the London under-ten-bouts novice champion.
It was a hum-dinger with Hayes winning on a very close points decision.
Brandon Davies of Hastings Westhill ABC took on Kealan McFadden of Brighton and Hove. It went the distance with Davies winning a splits points decision.
Eddie Simpson of the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment beat Rahees Ali of Crawley ABC on a split points decision.
Freddie Hayes was named best St Gerards boxer and Heffron the most improved from St Gerards.
Lavelle said: “The night was an amazing success with a culmination of hard work by all in attendance.
“It has a Las Vegas feel thanks to Phil Haddow’s electrical firm who provided the special lights and smoke effects. The boxers will never forget it – many club boxers never get to experience this unless they box at international level.
“Many thanks go to all boxers and coaches – it would not happen without them.
The gentlemen and ladies of England Boxing, including our own Frank O’Donnell, were fantastic, as were all the volunteers.
Lavelle also praised Ray Richardson and the Rotary Club, who finance the event. And he thanked coaches Ferguson and Mills for their support, as well as city boxing stalwart Jack Hood.
The coaches train on Mondays and Thursdays at the Chichester Boys’ Club from 7.15pm until 8.45pm – anyone interested is welcome to pop in.
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