St Gerards Boxing Club and the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory again teamed up for their annual black-tie boxing dinner show.
It was the sixth such event they had put on and was held at Chichester College in front of another sell-out crowd.
Phil Haddow of Haddow Electrical again helped Las Vegas come to Chichester as he provided superb lighting that lit up the evening’s display of up-and-coming talent.
First up was a skills bout between St Gerards boxer Dan Blunden, who is just ten, against Jack Gibbs, also ten, from Tadley & District.
Both lads moved around like old pros, delighting the crowd with their prowess, and received, apturous applause for their efforts.
The first real bout pitted the host club’s Harrison Bullen, 12, against Jake Mabb of Bexhill, 13, in a schoolboy contest over three 90-second rounds.
Mab had the better of the exchanges, with Bullen firing back now and again. Mabb won on a clear points decision.
Next Freddie Hayes of St Gerards, 15, fought Byron Jones of Crawley, also 15, in a youth contest at featherweight (54-57kgs) over three two-minute rounds.
Hayes dazzled the crowd over all three rounds with his shots and combination of punches. Hayes won the first, and the second round also saw him take over.
The last was dominated by Hayes, who won on a very well-earned unaninmous points decision from the three judges.
The third contest saw St Gerards’ Dennis Hayes, 17, take on Charlie Goodridge of Battlebridge, 16, in a youth lightweight (57-60kg) contest.
It began fast and furious from both boxers, with Goodridge getting the upper hand in the early exchanges and clearly winning the first round.
The second saw Hayes chasing the round, receiving a standing count from the referee and a further eight count in the same round.
The third round saw Hayes trying to bridge the gap and he received another standing count, and the referee called a halt.
Next brought the first two seniors of the evening to the ring as Balraj Khara of Westside BC in north London fought River Boam from Moneyfields, Portsmouth, in a three-round light-heavyweight clash.
Balraj had a host of supporters who hollered for him to perform – and he did just that.
After three terrific rounds, Khara took a well-earned split decision points win.
Next up, George Porter took on Chris James in an all-St Gerards affair in a senior contest at light-heavyweight.
It was Porter’s first outing and in a tentative first round, both were checking each other out. The second sped up a bit and James upped the ante a little to get the upper hand.
In the last round they pushed each other more, but Porter held on. James won on a judges points decision.
Contest No6 was between Shawn Thompson of St Gerards and Max Olive of Canterbury, both weighing 73kg for a senior contest at light-middleweight.
It was a firecracker from the off.
St Gerards coach Jon Mills said: “We told Shawn to keep the contest at long range as he was beating Max to the punch.
“In the second round it was another close affair. The last round was amazing, going to and fro, with neither willing to give up any ground with flurries of punches raining in.
“Shawn won on a very well-earned split decision. This contest was good enough to be named the bout of the night.”
Next, Xavier Southerton of St Gerards and Mubanga Chisanga of Eastbourne (a Chichester lad) fought out a senior affair at welterweight.
Mubanga had the edge in the first round but coach Mills said the St Gerards camp felt Southerton took the second round.
The last was a cracker of a contest with Southerton going up a gear and landing some telling blows. Chisanga fought back but Southerton was the winner on a close split-points decision.
The pair were named best home and away boxers of the night.
The last contest paired Rafiqul Khan of Bexhill with Michael Brown of Titchfield at middleweight.
Winner in another split decision was Michael Brown of Titchfield.
The night’s best loser trophy, donated by the Queens Regiment Association and presented by their rep Dave Tilley, went to Dennis Hayes. The Charlie Orr trophy for the most improved St Gerards boxer over the past year went to Abigail Wawman.
The Jack Hood Trophy for the best St Gerards boxer over the past year was presented to Holly Heffron by the local boxing stalwart himself.
A special award was presented by Marion Curbishley, on behalf of main club sponsor Curian Medical, to an unsuspecting Jon Millsfor all the hard work and dedication he puts into the club.
The club’s Gerry Lavelle said: “We are lucky enough to have someone as humble as Jon in our company, who isn’t paid a penny for giving all he does.”
All in all the show was a smashing success, raising much-needed funds for local youth clubs.
Thanks went to Ray Richardson of the Rotary Club; Frank O’Donnel, the official in charge, and all his assistants; Bill Middleton, St Gerards chairman; Gareth Ferguson (coach); Jared Partridge (MC); Ian Curbishley and Curian Medical; the security staff and caterers; supporters and the boxers.
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