Smokin’ Joe claims another big scalp

On fire 'Smokin'' Joe Crawford on his way to victory against Matty Johnstone in Blackpool
On fire 'Smokin'' Joe Crawford on his way to victory against Matty Johnstone in Blackpool
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Burnley’s busiest schoolboy boxing prospect, North West champion “Smokin’” Joe Crawford had the honour of Sandygate ABC’s first contest of the New Year.

The 12-year-old represented a Lancashire/Fylde Coast Select team against a Scottish Select team at The Cliffs Hotel, Blackpool, where he was matched against Scotland’s unbeaten National Schoolboy champion Matty Johnstone (Forgewood ABC).

As the referee gave out instructions in the middle, the height advantage was very visible in favour of the pugilist from north of the border.

The opening round was a torrid affair with Johnstone deciding to mix it in the middle with Crawford, who rolled countered, switched and connected well with head and body shots.

Working well in the clinches, he caught his taller foe with lead hand hooks to the head, and rear hand straights as the Burnley boxer ended the round on a high.

The second saw the Ighten Hill prospect come out composed and focused.

With Johnstone now deciding to use his reach advantage, and holding in the clinches, Crawford penetrated the jab agai,n focusing on the body, covering up well and scoring frequently.

The third was again a non-stop affair. Sensing he was behind on the score cards, Johnstone threw everything at Crawford, but the St Christopher’s Year 8 pupil was not fazed, working well on the inside while maintaining a tight guard as the tough Caledonian threw a endless barrage of blows, but to no avail.

It was to a hushed audience the MC announced a split decision in favour of Crawford.

The record of the Hargreaves Street Club boxer makes impressive reading, beating the Irish, Scottish and Merseyside, Cheshire and Yorkshire champions at his age, and two North West champions the year above.

Crawford also overturned his only losses recently, beating J. Turner (Croxteth) on the Clayton ABC show at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel, winning every round in a unanimous verdict.

Sandygate have six of their boxers in action tonight at the Kendal ABC show, and North West champion Brett Windle (16) is hoping to retain his title as he boxes tomorrow in the England Boxing (ABA’s) Youth Championship North West Quarter-Finals against T. Munday (Macclesfield ABC).

Anyone interested in taking up boxing can find details at