Sandygate Amateur Boxing Club’s Smokin’ Joe Crawford recently received the call that every young pugilist desires.
Nationally ranked and on the England Boxing Talent radar the call came through for the 14-year-old to represent his country at 48kg in the Three Nations Schoolboy Boxing Championships held at The Doncaster Dome, Yorkshire.
As host nation the knockout championship consisted of two England representatives with Ighten Leigh second seed Crawford joined by England schoolboy supremo Adam Azim. Welsh champion Joseph Morgan and Scotland’s Darrell Russell were also involved.
Sandygate’s talented teenager drew Highlander Russell in the semi-final’s. With Azim dispatching Morgan in his contest it was up to the young Burnley boxer to try and make it an all English final.
And Crawford did not disappoint. Straight from the the opening bell he kept centre forcing the hardy Russell onto the back foot, rolling under any advances and catching him with his body to head switches of attack with frequency. That display subsequently earned Crawford the first round.
The following 90-second stanza saw the Scot take a more aggressive approach, forcing his foe on to the rear foot which evened up the AIBA judges’ scorecards.
The third and final round witnessed both boxers jockey for dominance with each fighter showing spells of quality. However, it was the Sandygate boxer who landed the cleaner punches while moving impressively to roll out of trouble.
It was to a hushed auditorium that the result was announced in favour of Crawford on a split decision.
Guaranteed a medal, the St Christopher’s year nine pupil went into the final to face European Squad member and countryman Azim without fear.
From the opening exchanges Crawford showed he meant business commanding the centre of the ring and taking the fight to his Berkshire foe.
In the second round Crawford made good use of his lead hand and hook combinations and worked well in the clinches to make the bout a tough one to call for the judges.
The final round was a measured affair with the Hargreaves Street boxer countering and connecting throughout.
Crawford narrowly missed out on the verdict to Azim but secured the Three Nations Silver Medal and the number two rank in Great Britain.
Sandygate Coach Nik Tucker said: “To take the call at short notice and lose a bit of weight very quickly just shows the dedication of young Joe.
“Where many struggling to discipline themselves in maintaining weight and training, Joe works extremely hard and the results show.”
Although it is now close season classy Crawford can’t have a rest just yet as tomorrow he will be attending the England Team European Championship sparring/training session.