Roche fighters catch eye as club prospers

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KNOCkout performances from teenage prodigies at Roche Boxing Club have forced the Amateur Boxing Association to take notice.

The Briercliffe Road club has seen two of its fighters bestowed with plaques for their respective achievements, one boxer reach the North West Regional Schoolboys final and another the semi-final stage.

Up-and-coming star Jack Steff was rewarded for the rare feat of claiming three successive junior ABA titles, while Owais Majeed was presented with the accolade of most exciting prospect in the North West region for the 16-year-old category.

Matthew ‘Magic’ Hatton, younger brother of Ricky, was ringside at Cedar Mount in Gorton, Manchester, to watch Burnley fighters Sean Hughes, George Drinkwater and Jak Edmondson.

Blessed Trinity pupil Hughes brought Sale West opponent Danny Fletcher’s unbeaten streak to an end to reach the North West regional finals, expected to be held at the end of February. The 14-year-old dominated the three rounds.

Coach Roche said: “His performance was absolutely superb and he won the bout unanimously. His opponent was tipped as a big prospect but Sean was way too good for him. Technically Sean is great and he moves really well. He’ll be a fantastic boxer. He’s not a big hitter but he’s got quality.”

Elsewhere, popular George Drinkwater devastated Pool of Life’s Wayne Dawson in the three-round match-up to progress to the semi-final stage of the Schoolboys’ competition.

Roche said: “George absolutely dominated and punched him from pillar to post. George hasn’t been beaten in seven fights now; in all he’s won 22 from 27. He can really punch hard and he’s got the confidence with it as well. He’s a good body puncher and he knows he can hurt people.”

But there was less fortune for 14-year-old Jak who was robbed in his rematch against Irlam’s Luke Evans. The crowd was stunned into silence at the end of the 3x2 minute rounds as the judges awarded the win to Evans by a majority decision.

“I thought Jak had won,” Roche said. “Everyone in the crowd thought he had won. He boxed superbly and it was the best fight of the day.”