BURNLEY boxing coach Brian Roche hailed his club’s recent show as the best yet.
Around 500 people crammed in to the Hub in Bacup to watch Roche ABC’s exhibition, which featured some of the UK’s hottest amateur prospects over 14 bouts.
Adil Hussain, 21, narrowly lost out to Hyde and District’s Mark Classey, 18-year-old Josh Dand put up a spirited debut display in defeat to Blackrod’s Neil Martindale, Nicky Perry was edged out in a superb contest versus Keighley’s Peter Adamson while Owen Thomas was beaten via a majority verdict to Blackrod’s unbeaten protégé Waheed Pasha.
There was also misfortune for burgeoning talent George Drinkwater, who stepped up to featherweight. The 16-year-old lost out to British number one Arron Boyes (Bridlington ABC) in his first bout away from the flyweight division.
“Arron won unanimously,” declared Roche. “He was a superb boxer but I think George learned a lot from that contest. It’s a new challenge for George and showed that boxing isn’t always plain sailing.”
But national schoolboy champion Oathey Jones maintained his impressive 100% record against Moss Side’s Chris Tadbury. The 12-year-old won unanimously to extend his amateur record to nine victories.
Another youngster, 14-year-old Dean Thompson, was also triumphant as he dominated his contest against Skerton’s Dario Rodriguez. Owais Majeed enhanced his growing reputation by claiming the ‘most improved boxer’ accolade with a sublime performance and victory against Fulwood’s Paul Scott.
And England international fighter Jack Steff registered a remarkable win over last year’s ABA light-heavyweight finalist Matt Tinker. The Westway boxer was Europe’s number two but didn’t have an answer to the tenacious 20-year-old, who stormed to a majority verdict.
“Everyone was on their feet,” said Roche. “It was a massive fight, but Jack came through and took the boxer of the night award. It was a great display but we’ll be bringing him back down to middleweight after that.”
Roche added: “It was the best show we’ve ever done. It was packed to the rafters and everyone was treated to some belting fights. All my lads were well matched and it was a good learning process for the club.”
• IT was another fantastic night for Burnley Amateur Boxing Club, picking up another two victories at Mytholmroyd Leisure Centre, Hebden Bridge.
Coach Wayne Bennett saw Aidan Whittle and Archie Storrier return with a second round stoppage and a boxer of the night accolade.
First up was 19-year-old Whittle, nicknamed the Padiham Stallion, making his comeback bout against Halifax prospect Nathan Hill after a three-year absence from the ring. And he produced a devastating series of punches, forcing a standing count in the opening round, before sending him to the canvas just 20 seconds into the second stanza.
Talented 18-year-old Storrier later made his third appearance in five weeks against home fighter Conner Gravenor.
The teenager walked away with a winner’s trophy and an award for stand-out fighter of the night, chosen and presented by former Prizefighter lightweight contender Patrick Liam Walsh.
Bennett said: “What a great night for both lads and the club in general.
“I think we should have seen two stoppages but I won’t grumble after two thoroughly-deserved wins.
“They were both rewarded for their hard work and dedication at the gym over the last few months.
“I couldn’t be any prouder.”
Blessed Trinity pupil Joshua Variyam missed out on his debut due to dental issues with his opponent.
The 15-year-old is due to box tomorrow at Accrington’s New Era sports hall against Paramount ABC’s Konner Renshaw.
Anybody aged eight or above wanting to get involved in boxing, or keeping fit, can call down to Burnley ABC at Astley House in Albert Street.
Junior lessons start at 5 p.m. with senior classes at 6 p.m.
Anybody wishing to sponsor or support the club can contact Wayne on 07713 556763.