Reiko stuns more experienced fighter to win Graham’s praise

Reiko 'Riot' Rickwood with Billy Graham after being named boxer of the night
Reiko 'Riot' Rickwood with Billy Graham after being named boxer of the night
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Sandygate Amateur Boxing Club’s National Minors Finalist and North West champion Reiko “Riot” Rickwood added another win to his record in Ashton-under-Lyne.

The 12-year-old took on the more experienced Calum Francis (Hoddenham and Ely ABC), the East Anglian champion, having his 18th bout to Reiko’s seventh.

It was a mouth-watering match up, in a contest of three one-and-a-half-minute rounds at the Masonic Lodge on the Ashton Albion ABC show.

From the opening bell, Stoops Estate’s Rickwood met the taller Francis straight on, unleashing a mammoth barrage of blows, connecting to the body and forcing Francis onto the ropes.

The phases of attacks were relentless from Rickwood.

Standing up inbetween rounds, the Hameldon Year 7 pupil stayed focused and diligent.

The second again saw Rickwood match the strong Cambridgeshire boxer punch for punch, never taking a step back, his rigid rear hand kept hitting the mark.

The third and final round was a torrid affair, with Francis sensing a upset and Burnley’s Rickwood sensing the win.

It was a breathtaking encounter which had the large crowd on its feet as both young boxers gave it their all, but it was to be the Sandygate fighters night as, one minute in, he landed a very solid right hook to the body which totally took the wind out of Francis, forcing the referee to halt proceedings and administer a standing eight count.

Weathering the storm until the bell, Francis’ durability was ever present, with both boys getting a special mention from the MC, stating it was one of the best contests he had witnessed from lads so young - also acknowledged by the neutral crowd.

Judges ringside delivered their verdict - a unanimous win for Sandygate’s Rickwood.

Presenting the trophies, Manchester’s top professional coach Billy “Preacher” Graham also commented on the cracking contest, awarding Reiko the honour of boxer-of-the-night.

Anyone interested in joining the Hargreaves Street boxing club can via