National Youth Championships are a learning experience for Downend Boxing Club

DOWNEND Boxing Club sent two Western Counties champions to the England Boxing National Youth Championships.

The 18-year-old pair of Jay Holloway, of Kingswood, and Jude Moore, of Hillfields, represented the Fishponds club in just one of a number of competitions at every level keeping boxers from the Harry Crook Centre very busy.

Jude opened proceedings at the Spiceball Leisure Centre, Banbury, in the under 64kg category in a quarter final on November 26, facing Brady Cronin of Hoddesdon Boxing Club, Hertfordshire. 

After three rounds of quality boxing that saw both lads tested, a unanimous points win took the Downend boxer to the next day’s semi-finals.

Semi-finals day was Jay Holloway’s turn at under-60kg, having received a bye through the initial stages. He faced the experienced Reece Gannon of Towerhill, Liverpool, who was a veteran of 47 contests, while this was Jay’s 17th outing.

The Downend boxer went after his opponent from the first bell, finding success with some big shots throughout. As the contest progressed, however, Reece’s experience began to show through and saw him take a well-deserved points decision, following a great learning experience for Jay.

Jude’s semi-final was against the talented Odel Kamara of the Salisbury club, Liverpool.  A wonderful contest saw great skills from two top-level competitors.

On this occasion it wasn’t to be for Jude, as the decision and ultimately the national title went to Liverpool.

Jude was naturally disappointed, having previously won both the schoolboy and junior versions of the competition, but a top-four finish is still a fantastic result.

Also taking place in Banbury were the later stages of the Senior Development Championships.

Downend’s Usamah Zaman had a busy time winning his way through the regional rounds, commencing on November 14 with a points win over Ricky Barrett of Sweatbox.

This was followed by another points win on the 19th over Kiall Goodhall of Factory Gloucester, concluding with the Western Counties championship the following day against Joe Egan of St. Austell, which was won on points by the Downend boxer.

The pre-quarter final at Banbury finished with everyone scratching their heads.

Usamah, 21, boxed beautifully behind long shots, seemingly scoring clearly and often, and evading the aggressive Royal Navy boxer who came forward relentlessly, but seemed to land a lot of his shots on the gloves and arms.

After three rounds, however, the decision went to the Navy. 

Shrugging his shoulders afterwards, Usamah said: “I thought I’d won, but there’s always another day.”

Craig Turner