Burnley boxer’s national final shot

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Sandygate Amateur Boxing Club’s North West Regional champion Charlie “Chaos” Smith earned a place in the ABA National 42kg Minors Final in Kent at the weekend.

The 11-year-old, from Harle Syke, boxed unbeaten Tyne Tees champion Daniel Toward (Birtley ABC) in the semi-final in Newcastle.

The opening round was a torrid affair, with neither taking a backward step, with the taller Toward trying to smother Smith, allowing him to work the inside with some cracking body shots which slowed the Birtley boxer.

Coming out of the corner for the second round, Smith had a rearranged game plan, working off his lead, following with a long rear.

Smith was hitting the mark, doubling the back hand, and his workrate and persistence was really paying off, wearing down the hot favourite from the most successful schoolboy club in England in his own backyard.

The third and final round was the Blessed Trinity Year 7 pupil’s finest, switching to the body in his phased attacks.

Smith’s dominance was really coming to the fore, rolling under the jab of the beguiled Toward, hooking to the head then returning to the body in a flash.

It was to a hushed crowd at the Meadows Arena when the victor was announced as Smith.

Not to be outdone by the junior side of the Burnley club, North West Senior ABA champion Joe “Silent” Knight (20) faced Leeds-based K.Devenish (Kelly’s ABC) in the National ABA Lightweight 60kg pre-quarter-finals at The Boxing School of Excellence, Gorton, Manchester, with the winner moving into the last eight.

The Yorkshire champion Devenish came out cagey in the first round, wary of Knight’s growing reputation.

The taller Devenish resorted to back foot boxing, allowing Knight to close down the ring, keeping a very tight guard, boxing off his rigid jab and rolling under the counters.

Knight’s intentions were clear - score and move.

The second round once again saw Knight control the squared circle, notching up the points, showing exquisite ring craft and counter style punching.

Devenish resorted to holding, which resulted in many warnings from the referee.

The final round saw both boxers throw caution to the wind, and Knight displayed great countering combinations, still maintaining a unpenetratable guard.

It was no surprise ringside when the five judges gave the verdict to Knight.

“Birtley Boys have a massive reputation in the sport, so to go to Newcastle and get the result showed just how good Smith is,” beamed Sandygate ABC coach Nik Tucker.

Smith now faces another unbeaten boxer in the finials on April 14th, Surrey’s Calum Smith.

Knight boxes the Combined Services champion A. Matthews (Navy) in the ABA quarter-finals on Sunday, once again at Gorton.

“Joe is making a big noise in the sport, beating all in front of him with a classic boxing style, no flash, no bravado, just good quality pugilistic skill,” said coach Andy Howcroft.

Anyone interested in taking up the sport can contact the club via their website www.sandygateabc.com