Burnley boxing star on the rise

George Drinkwater
George Drinkwater

THE boxing world is George Drinkwater’s oyster according to coach Brian Roche.

The hard-hitting 14-year-old Burnley fighter continued his ascendency in the amateur boxing ranks after sealing the North West region ABA Schoolboy title in Gorton, Manchester.

Northside ABC’s Ryan Walsh had been touted to give the Trinity College pupil a tough test but that wasn’t the case as the Roche Amateur Boxing Club protégé won all three rounds and eased through to the Midland’s Counties Championships in February.

“George absolutely walked through him,” Roche said. “It went the three rounds but George won the fight unanimously. He was way too strong for his opponent. He’s an old-fashioned fighter and a big hitter and he’s very exciting to watch. He will take some stopping now.”

Meanwhile, Burnley’s Sean Hughes pushed Bridgewater’s Kieran Moore all the way but missed out on the championship by the slightest of margins.

The two fighters produced a pulsating affair over three two-minute rounds but it was the Salford fighter who ended the bout celebrating victory.

Roche said: “Sean was a class act; they were both very good boxers. The decision could have gone either way. The two corners looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders, it really was that close. They both had great foot work and worked really hard. They were both sheer class.

“Sean is a very technical fighter, he’s not very aggressive but he’s brilliant to watch. He’s had 32 fights already and he’s only 14. He’s made a name for himself in the North West setup and he’s going to go places.”

And Roche ABC’s Aarran Hayden maintained his unblemished record in a star-studded event at Bolton’s Lads and Girls Club.

One-time WBA Welterweight champion Ricky ‘the Hitman’ Hatton MBE was in attendance at the event and had some very encouraging words for the Burnley fighter in the culmination of his bout. Also ringside was former middleweight world champion Alan Minter, former British welterweight boxing champion Dave ‘Boy’ Green, undefeated British welterweight fighter Denton Vassell and former British welterweight champion Michael Jennings.

The 16-year-old brought opponent James Kerr’s unbeaten record to an end after dominating all three rounds. Roche said: “He was brilliant and won every round. I was talking to Ricky Hatton who said Aarran was a tidy fighter and he tipped him to do well. He is a very good fighter and a quality puncher.”