England Boxing Elite champs crowned
SHORTLY after a highly successful Commonwealth Games, and with the British Lionhearts franchise keeping many top talents involved in the World Series of Boxing, England’s national Elite Championships provided a chance to look at the talent coming through further down the pipeline.
Standards varied but some new faces emerged over three days of competition in East London, with the quarters and semis at the University of East London’s Sportsdock being followed by finals at York Hall.
Sunshine plus competition from the London Marathon and FA Cup semi-finals kept the attendance down a bit, but those who did turn out enjoyed the fare, which combined women’s bouts with the men’s.
A whole bunch of new champions were crowned on the male side, starting with Connor Kelsall. The Tom Hill (Doncaster) light-fly used good movement and fast hands to beat Benn Norman to the punch. The Braunstone battler kept trying but too often was out of range as Kelsall won unanimously.
Kelsall had eliminated top seed Connor Butler (Everton Red Triangle) in the semis the day before.
Triumphing at flyweight was Hoddesdon’s Hamza Mahmood,
who boxed superbly to outscore Gemini southpaw Jake Harrison.
The day before Mahmood had seemed fortunate to get the decision over GB boxer Blane Hyland, while Harrison picked up a vertical cut over his left eye (near the nose) in overcoming Muzi Fuyana.
But there was no doubt about the final. Mahmood used the full extent of the ring to lead Harrison a merry dance before landing rights as the Scouser came in, unable to close the gap.
Harrison’s cut reopened late in the first, just to add to his problems, and although Jake enjoyed a good spell late in round two, Mahmood reasserted himself in the last with sharp rights.
Bantamweight (56 kilos) threw up in intriguing decider between Midlander Liam Davies, whose hard hitting had accounted for
Ismail Khan in the semis, and Everton Red Triangle’s more mobile
It ended in a split victory for Strand and although there was never much between them, the
decision was correct. Davies definitely won the first, occupying ring centre and scoring sharply, but Strand adjusted intelligently to take rounds two and three – moving laterally and countering as Davies spent too long waiting instead of punching.
Anther intriguing all-southpaw tactical battle concluded the lightweight division, with Mark
Chamberlaine (Team Wiseman) earning a split over Davies’ Kings Heath clubmate Akash Tuqir.
One could understand the divided verdict: Tuqir, very tall for the weight, threw more shots but too often they lacked force. Chamberlaine waited and waited - but when he did open up and connect, his shots had more impact and were more eye-catching.
In a semi-final that unfolded before raucous crowd support, Chamberlaine had dropped former junior star Charles Frankham heavily in round two with a big left hand en route to a unanimous victory. At 64 kgs GB squad member Dalton Smith found himself facing Isaac Milburn after the Birtley prospect received what many felt was a fortunate split semi-final decision over Nemesis southpaw
Elliot Whale. (The Saturday action featured numerous split verdicts, often when the identity of the winner didn’t seem in any doubt).
In the final Milburn boxed very well, landing jabs and making Smith work for every point before the Sheffield City man’s more spectacular, harder single shots saw him home unanimously.
At welter Harris Akbar retained his title – the only male 2017 champion to repeat – as he unanimously outscored St Pauls southpaw Harvey Lambert in a scrappy final.
Lambert, 20 and only recently moved up from 64, had a good first round in which he picked off Akbar. But over the next six minutes the Bradford Police/college boxer proved too strong as he got to close range and piled up points with solid lefts and rights.
Jordan Reynolds made it two titles for Hoddesdon Boxing Academy when he unanimously outpointed Far Cotton portsider
Ben Fail in an exciting middleweight final. After narrowly beating Bradley
Goldsmith in the quarters, then suffering a cut left eye eliminating roughhouse Ramtin Musah in the semis, Reynolds saved his best for last.
He engaged with Fail a bit too much in round one before making better use of his skills over the next two rounds, standing off then coming in to unload fast volleys of hooks. Fail spent too much time waiting and although he did reopen Reynolds’ cut in the last, it wasn’t enough.
Light-heavyweight saw a right old tear-up, eventually won on a split by Birtley southpaw Ben Rees over Harwich’s Pat Allen Cripps. Rees won the opener clearly, when a jolting left might have brought a count (but didn’t), and while the next two sessions saw both slam away enthusiastically, Ben generally stayed one step ahead.
Both finalists had eliminated
servicemen in the semis, Rees toppling the Navy’s number one seed George Crotty and Allen Cripps getting past Army puncher John Marvin.
After years of trying, Basingstoke’s Bryce Goodridge finally won a national title when he proved too good for Callum
Beardow in the cruiserweight (86kgs) decider. Stocky Beardow (Sheffield City) marched in only for the tall Goodridge to bounce around and pick him off with both hands for a convincing unanimous victory.
The heavyweight final proved a scrappy affair as shorter soldier
Natty Ngwenya tried to get
inside and unload on much taller Lewis Williams. Natty had some early success, but as the contest wore on Williams (Cleary’s) gradually asserted himself to win unanimously. His right hand was his main weapon.
The final contest of a long three days produced an emotional victory for soldier Chez Nihell, who outpointed Courtney
Bennett (Double Jab) at superheavyweight – and confirmed this will be his last season on the Army squad.
Bennett, the capital’s only male finalist, simply didn’t throw enough punches. Switch-hitting Nihell boxed a smart tactical fight, moving around the ring nimbly then darting in to score and scooting away before Bennett could respond. Chez did tie up the South Londoner at times, but he supplied most of the notable blows and it was a surprise he won only via split verdict.
The women’s finals were dominated by the United Kingdom Armed Forces, more specifically the Army, whose commitment to female boxing could be seen in their winning three titles from five finalists.
Having said that, the best woman on show was Amy
Broadhurst, who in England boxes for Islington but back in her native Ireland reached the national final and won gold at the European Under-22 championships.
That was at 60kgs, but here southpaw Broadhurst, who rejoices in the nickname “Baby Canelo”, triumphed up at 64. In the final she pasted the Army’s gutsy Megan Reid, who suffered a heavy nosebleed but hung in there gamely to reach the final bell. Army welter Stephanie
Wroe used her height and reach advantages to unanimously outscore stocky Laura Stevens (Far Cotton), who contributed plenty in the best sustained action bout of the day, male or female.
Also winning for the Army were Tori
Ellis-willetts (51) and southpaw Karris Artingsall (57), who displayed too much technique for Stevie Pitt and Crystal Barker respectively. Tori and Karris both won unanimously. Starting finals day at 48 kgs, New Astley southpaw Demi Jade Resztan was too forceful for Stratford’s Miriam Zouhou, driving her back with hooks and body shots to win unanimously.
At 54 kgs Hatty Nylan from Hebden Bridge had the height advantage over Nina Hughes, but the Chadwell St Mary boxer got inside and outworked her to win on all cards.
The thriving Birtley club won a female title to go with its male one (Ben Rees) as tough Hannah Robinson ground out a unanimous verdict over Shanice James at lightweight. The heaviest women’s weight contested saw a straight final at middle, with Kerry Davies (Heart of Portsmouth) using her left jab effectively to outscore Elena Narozanski (Nemesis) for all five judges.
49: Semi-finals: Connor Kelsall (Tom Hill) outpd Connor Butler (Everton Red Triangle) split, Benn Norman (Braunstone) outpd Andrew Winter (Shildon) split. Final: Kelsall outpd Norman unan.
52: Quarter-finals: Blane Hyland (Salisbury) outpd Rachid Nassa (St Vincents) unan, Hamza Mahmood (Hoddesdon) outpd Jordan Purkiss (Chadwell St Mary) unan, Jake Harrison (Gemini) outpd Michael Mulvey (Timperley) unan, Muzzi Fuyana (Middlesbrough) outpd Liam Etheridge (Pleck) unan. Semi-finals: Mahmood outpd Hyland split, Harrison outpd Fuyana split. Final: Mahmood outpd Harrison unan.
56: Quarter-finals: Brad Strand (ERT) outpd Lewis Southgate (St Marys) split, Lewis Coley (2nd City) outpd Connor Holloway (Attleborough) split, Liam Davies (Kings Heath) outpd Jack England (West Ham) unan, Ismail Khan (Hunslet) outpd Jeff Neesham (High Fell) unan. Semi-finals: Strand outpd Coley unan, Davies outpd Khan split. Final: Strand outpd Davies split.
60: Quarter-finals: Callum Thompson (Tower Hill) outpd Cole Johnson (Orme) unan, Akash Tuqir (Kings Heath) outpd Rory Lavery (Salisbury) unan, Charles Frankham (The Ring) outpd Jake Slater (Birtley) split, Mark Chamberlaine (Team Wiseman) outpd Shaun Thomas (Islington)
split. Semi-finals: Tuqir outpd Thompson split, Chamberlaine outpd Frankham unan. Final: Chamberlaine outpd Tuqir split.
64: Quarter-finals: Dalton Smith (Steel City) ko’d Bernado Marime (March), Cory O’regan (Burmantofts) outpd Tom Collins (Hall Green) unan, Isaac Milburn (Birtley) outpd Ryan Hart (Mayflower) unan, Elliot Whale (Nemesis) outpd Jack Mckinley (Everton Red Triangle) unan. Semifinals: Smith outpd O’regan unan, Milburn outpd Whale split. Final: Smith outpd Milburn unan.
69: Quarter-finals: Harris Akbar (Bradford Police) outpd Andrew Stafford (Chadderton) unan, Romario Wallace (Repton) outpd Jacob Gabriel (Basingstoke) unan, Harvey Lambert (St Pauls) outpd Tom Aitcheson (Knowsley Vale) unan, Conah Walker (Merridale) outpd Luke Fisher (UKAF) split. Semi-finals: Akbar outpd Wallace unan, Lambert outpd Walker unan. Final: Akbar outpd Lambert unan.
75: Quarter-finals: Jordan Reynolds (Hoddesdon) outpd Bradley Goldsmith (Triumph) split, Ramtin Musah (Beartown) outpd Michael Jobson (Walkerfield) split, Jack Stringer (UKAF) outpd Jermaine Williams (Boxing Academy) unan, Ben Fail (Far Cotton) outpd Alex Pattison (Gemini) unan. Semi-finals: Reynolds outpd Musah split, Fail ko’d Stringer 1st. Final: Reynolds outpd Fail unan. 81: Quarter-finals: George Crotty (UKAF) outpd Aaron Bowen (Triumph) unan, Ben Rees (Birtley) outpd Ola Alausa (Double Jab) unan, John Marvin (UKAF) stpd Daniel Woledge (St Marys) 3rd, Pat Allen Cripps (Harwich) outpd Dan Makaz (Salisbury) unan. Semi-finals: Rees outpd Crotty split, Allen Cripps outpd Marvin split. Final: Rees outpd Allen Cripps split.
86: Quarter-finals: Corey Clarke (Priory Park) outpd Godley Thiaba (Far Cotton) split, Adam Gair (East Durham) stpd Tony Hart (Everton Red Triangle) 3rd, Callum Beardow (Sheffield City) outpd Jack Fay (Technique) split. Semi-finals: Bryce Goodridge (Basingstoke) outpd Clarke unan, Beardow outpd Gair split. Final: Goodridge outpd Beardow unan.
91: Quarter-finals: Lewis Williams (Clearys) outpd Jamie Smith (Evolve) unan, Robert Squires (Barum) outpd Marius Piwowar (Leamington Spa) split, Michael Webster (Empire) outpd Danny Williams (Woking) split, Natty Ngwenya (UKAF) Thomas Pogson (Imps) unan. Semi-finals: Williams outpd Squires unan, Ngwenya outpd Webster unan. Final: Williams outpd Ngwenya unan. 91&: Quarter-finals: Courtney Bennett (Double Jab) outpd Jamie Tshikeva (White Hart Lane) unan, Lee Frater (Bad Boyz) outpd Shawn Hughes (Kirkby) unan, Steven Robinson (Swalwell) outpd Bamidele Ogunsele (HOP) unan, Chez Nihell (UKAF) outpd Delicious Iwichukuwu (Jewellery Quarter) unan. Semi-finals: Bennett outpd Frater unan, Nihell outpd Robinson unan. Final Nihell outpd Bennett split. Women: 48: Quarter-finals: Marie Connah (Left Hook) outpd Alexandra Richards (Miguels) unan, Rebecca Stone (Brookside) outpd Igne Vaitkunaite (High Wycombe) unan. Semi-finals: Demi-jade Resztan (New Astley) outpd Connan unan, Miriam Zouhou (Stratford) outpd Stone split. Final: Resztan outpd Zouhou unan. 51: Quarter-final: Tori Ellis-willetts (UKAF) outpd Nicola Hopewell (X Box). Semi-finals: Elliswilletts outpd Jade Ashmore (Bradford College) unan. Final: Ellie-willetts outpd Stevie Pitt (Wayne Elcock’s) unan. 54: Quarter-final: Jay Dujon (West Ham) outpd Nicola Arther (Manx) unan. Semi-finals: Nina Hughes (Chadwell St Mary) outpd Tracey Webber (Northside) unan, Hatty Nylan (Hebden Bridge) outpd Dujon split. Final: Hughes outpd Nylan unan.
57: Quarter-finals: Crystal Barker (Hook & Jab) outpd Sian O’toole (Droitwich) unan, Natalia Rok (Evolve) outpd Calli Bushell (Jersey Leonis) unan, Raven Chapman (Arena) outpd Charlie Davison (Lowestoft) unan, Karris Artingsall (Army) outpd Amy Andrews (Haringey) split. Semi-finals: Barker outpd Rok split, Artingsall outpd Chapman unan. Final: Artingsall outpd Barker unan.
60: Quarter-finals: Shanice James (UKAF) outpd Louise Orton (St Marys) split, Shannon Courtenay (Islington) outpd Jade Pearce (Wellington) unan, Hannah Robinson (Birtley) outpd Sadie Thomas (Hartlepool Headland) split. Semi-finals: James outpd Kimberley Rowe (Downend Police) unan, Robinson outpd Courtenay unan. Final: Robinson outpd James unan. 64: Quarter-finals: Megan Reid (UKAF) outpd Kate
Flynn (No Limits) unan, Claudia Havranek (Bognor) outpd Adrianne Phoeby (Eastbourne) split, Xian Blackman-price (HOP) outpd Shereen Hutton (Jubilee) split, Amy Broadhurst (Islington) outpd Sarah Dunne (Bury) split. Semifinals: Reid outpd Havranek split, Broadhurst outpd Blackman-price unan. Final: Broadhurst outpd Reid unan.
69: Quarter-finals: Stephanie Wroe (UKAF) outpd Jade Grierson (Newark) unan, Omarah Taylor (Firewalker) outpd Jem Campbell (Luton Academy) split, Laura Stevens (Far Cotton) outpd Hannah Shield (Birtley) unan. Semi-finals: Wroe outpd Deayndra Allen (Haringey) unan, Stevens outpd Taylor split. Final: Wroe outpd Stevens unan.
75: Final: Kerry Davies (HOP) outpd Elena Narozanski (Nemesis) unan.