Reece finding his feet among boxing’s elite

Reece Farnhill trains at Sandygate ABC. Photo: Andy Ford
Reece Farnhill trains at Sandygate ABC. Photo: Andy Ford
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Sandygate ABC coach Andy Howcroft says that Reece Farnhill will have to find his feet at elite level after being crowned North West champion.

The 21-year-old, from Sabden, stopped Leigh ABC’s Brian Rennie in the third round of the final at the Masonic Hall in Ashton-under-Lyne.

After an even first round, where both fighters attempted to command centre of the ring, Farnhill that started to up the ante as he showed more ambition and added to his aggression.

Having worked behind a robust jab, Farnhill introduced the combinations that would start to ask questions of his opponent, and a big right hand forced Rennie back onto the ropes.

Farnhill, who had impressed at England Boxing’s Elite Men’s 75kg+ Open Talent Day last year, continued to pile on the pressure and another right troubled his foe early in the final round.

From that point the Ribble Valley pugilist, who was victorious in the North West Championship for Young People Final, to progress to the National stages, while enjoying further triumph in the Class B Senior Developments National Championships, got stuck in, switching between upstairs and downstairs.

With Farnhill’s superior power and fitness starting to tell, a left hook had Rennie retreating before a huge overhand right forced the first standing eight count.

He got to work again immediately and another barrage of punches prompted another count, much to Rennie’s frustration.

At that point it was one-way traffic as Farnhill landed at will, with every shot having an effect. Eventually the towel was thrown in.

“It was a fairly even first round but he probably edged it after a slow start,” said Howcroft. “But he started to pick up the pace, going through the gears in the second round, and every time he caught his opponent it was solid, even with his jab.

“He started getting on top and Brian was hanging on. In the final round he wobbled him, had him against the ropes and forced a couple of standing counts. Reece continued to put the pressure on and they eventually threw the towel in.

“The national title that he won at 69kg is definitely the best he’s won, but this is still a good belt.

“Reece is an elite level fighter and he’s got to find his feet there now. He’s competing against the best fighters in England.

“He might have to start taking a few more chances, because you can’t afford to give them a headstart.

“He lost against Bradley Rea again in the ABA Elite Championship semi-final because it wasn’t until the third and final round where he really impressed.”

Howcroft added: “He’s more suited to the professional game. He would be harder to beat over more rounds because he’s as tough as old boots, has a great defence and marches his opponents down.

“I’m very happy with his progression. He will get there because he’s learning all the time.

“He’s had 34 bouts and won 25 of them and they’ve been against experienced fighters recently.

“We’re trying to get him as many fights as we can, matching him with the top lads in the country. He has to prove himself against that calibre to get on England’s radar.”

Reece will defend his title against Scott McGrady in Cleator Moor on October 27th.