Three golds for Downend boxers in Wexford Box Cup
A team of seven Downend boxers headed to Ireland to compete in the annual Wexford Box Cup.
The team of 16-year-olds Joe Adams, Jack Oram, Ellouise Challenger and Taylor Andrews, plus Bradley Smith (17), Rocky Johnstone (12) and Jude Moore (15), faced some top European opposition and didn't disappoint.
First up in the quarter-finals was Bradley Smith, who faced Munster champion Paddy Walsh of Sliabh Luachra BC, Kerry.
A great controlled exhibition of boxing from Bradley thwarted aggressive attacks from the Kerry lad for the whole three rounds. At the end however, the Irish boxer’s aggression took a close points decision.
A busy quarter-final day began with Rocky Johnstone meeting Luke Fitzgerald of Corpus Christi BC, Limerick.
The boxers met each other head-on in the first round, with furious exchanges taking place in a close round. The second round saw the Downend boxer starting to pull away, remaining strong against the competitive Limerick boxer.
In the end, Rocky progressed to the next round by points decision.
Jude Moore took to the ring next, against Mohamed Nasir of Mullingar Elite BC, Westmeath.
A steady start, progressing in tempo and pressure, saw Moore cruise to the next round against a game but inexperienced opponent.
In what was the first of two surprising decisions of the day, Joe Adams faced Jason Breen of Arklow BC, Wicklow. Both boxers were very technical throughout, but seemingly Joe was scoring nicely with his lead hand, with lots of movement which was making his opponent fall short.
The judges disagreed, and awarded a points verdict to the talented Wicklow lad.
Jack Oram contested his place in the final against the strong Laurentiu Micusa, of Curragh BC, Kildare. An aggressive, all-action contest ensued, as both boxers gave all in trying to move the other back. At the end, the Kildare boxer triumphed but it was a superb effort from Jack.
In the last semi-final contest, another bemusing result for Taylor Andrews who faced Canadian Alex Bulgaru. The first round was an untidy affair, with the Nova Scotian pushing Taylor around and leaning on. The second and third round saw Taylor find his range and score cleanly throughout, despite the Canadian's rough style.
The judges once again disagreed, awarding the win to Bulgaru.
Finals day arrived and an eager Rocky Johnstone climbed into the ring with Liam Doyle of Gorey BC, Wexford. An early flurry from Rocky saw Doyle in trouble and not able to recover, prompting the Gorey coach to throw in the towel, Rocky therefore winning Downend's first gold.
Up next was Jude Moore, facing top opposition in European bronze medallist Jake Charles of Mullingar BC, Westmeath.
A careful start from Jude built into a high work rate in a quality top-class contest, which a packed audience enjoyed. Jude earned a second gold medal for Downend with a points decision and quality performance.
The final contest was between Ellouise Challenger and European silver medallist Katelyn Doyle, of St Bridgets, Kildare.
A strong start from the Downend girl prompted an early protection count from the referee. The second round saw the Kildare boxer try to rally, however the strength of Ellouise was too much, and the corner retired their boxer.
Team manager Jo Turner said: “I am delighted with the team’s performance, against top quality international opposition.”