DOWNEND Boxing Club debutant Riley Catley has some big shoes to fill – his dad is former WBC World super middleweight champion Glenn.
But the 18-year-old made made a perfect start with a points win over Tez Weale of the Sweatbox boxing club, Bedminster, in Stroud on May 7.
Onlookers could not believe it was either boxer’s first appearance, as a great, skilful contest flowed. Long-range boxing kept the strong attacks of 22-year-old Weale at bay, and a fast rear hand from Catley brought a standing count from the referee.
Earlier 10-year-old Kadon Smith, making his second competitive appearance, lost on points but gained valuable experience against the talented southpaw Preston Davey of St Austell.
Newly crowned Western Counties schools champion Tommy Pring conceded some months to Jaylen Powell of Gloucester. On the back foot in the first round, Tommy re-set successfully in the second but an all-action third round saw Jaylen turn up the pace, taking the judge’s decision.
Eloise Edwards, 17, took to the ring for the first time in eight months against Isobel Price, of Norfolk, in a scrappy contest. Eloise displayed quality long range boxing on her way to a points win, with Isobel warned by the referee for wrestling.
On the same night in Southampton 12-year-old Elijah Sanchez was contesting his quarter final in the national schools championships.
Elijah, nicknamed ‘Magic’ due to his defensive movement used every bit of his talent with a slick performance to outpoint tough Kent boxer Raymond Hanrahan.
The following weekend Elijah and Tommy Pring went to Banbury in Oxfordshire for the semis and finals.
Tommy, who had amazingly secured his place in just seven bouts, was outpointed by James Baker from the famous Repton boxing club in London, despite overcoming a nervous start and gaining confidence as the contest went on.
A walk over put Elijah straight into the final the following day – but what happened next will always remain a mystery.
Facing Ivor Lee of Sheffield in the final, Elijah utilised his boxing ability and fast hands to score unchallenged in places, and after three rounds seemed to have won the contest.
To everyone’s amazement, a 3-2 split decision went against the Downend boxer. With no appeal system, the reasoning of the three judges will never be clear.
Bitterly disappointed, Elijah displayed exemplary sportsmanship throughout, and we are immensely proud of him.
In Bristol, 15-year-old Mya Das made her third competitive outing against southpaw Emily Palaky of Wye boxing academy.
Mya quickly adapted to score with long right hands and lead hooks, leading to a unanimous points win.
Picture: Riley Catley with coaches Tracey Hayne, Conor White, Craig Turner and proud dad Glenn