Boxers back in tournament action
A TOURNAMENT welcoming clubs from all over the country was the perfect way for Downend boxers to restart competition after the lockdown.
A team of eight boxers from Downend Boxing Club's base at the Harry Crook centre in Fishponds headed to Torquay for the Riviera Box Cup in August, looking to bring back some medals – and work off some rust from nearly two years of inactivity.
Opening the tournament, 14-year-old Mya Das made her debut in a non-decision skills contest against Caitlyn Wise of Worcester City, with the contest so successful they repeated it the following day.
Next up was 18-year-old Jude Moore, facing the classy Bradley Shuttleworth of Darlaston.
A strong start from Jude pushed Shuttleworth back from the first bell, forcing a protection count.
In round two the referee stopped the contest after Jude knocked down his opponent.
Unlucky Bailey Phillips, 21, looked on course to repeat a previous win against Bognor's Charlie Mason, opening with sharp combinations and controlled boxing.
But as the end of the first round approached Mason found a great shot that dropped the Downend boxer and although Bailey got to his feet, the referee quite rightly called enough.
True to his character, Bailey simply said: "That's the game."
Talal Attia knocked down and out Bodmin's Josef Hajak in his semi-final. The 19-year-old went to his older opponent from the first bell and finished the contest with a sharp left hand in round 2.
In the final the next day Talal faced welterweight Kiall Goodall of Factory Gloucester.
Talal used clever evasive movement to avoid attacks that would have ended any hopes of a medal and countered fast, seeing a sharp punch connect in the second round, bringing a protection count. The third round saw an equally all-action contest and at the end the Downend boxer prevailed.
Usamah Zaman used his longer reach to good effect in his semi-final against Devonport boxer Lewis Hardiman, winning on points despite a warning from the referee for falling onto his opponent.
His final the next day was a close contest with Josue Masasu of Parkstone boxing club in Poole.
An accidental clash of heads saw Usamah, 21, cut under the eye and after a doctor had given the all-clear, Masasu forced the action to take a points decision.
A second contest in as many weeks for 16-year-old Alexa Smith saw her lose a very close split decision to Paige Howarth, of Clayton, after three ferocious rounds.
Jay Holloway, 17, went through to his final against Jenson Brown of Essex in the draw and, despite a good first round, the lay-off had clearly affected him and cleaner punching from Brown in the second and third saw him take the points decision.
Jodie Horton took to the ring for a straight final against the strong Emily Pugh of Right Stuff boxing club in Staffordshire. Technically correct long-range punching from Jodie, 25, gave her the first round but Pugh kept coming forward throughout, making things very tough before Jodie took a unanimous points decision.
The club was delighted with all the performances after such a long and difficult lay-off, and particularly pleased to see our coaching team working with the young people so well.
Thanks must go to former Commonwealth super bantamweight champion Ash Lane, former Downend boxer, now professional Ben Demmery, Conor White, Tracey Hayne and Shelly Ford for their excellent contribution. Craig Turner