Bridlington ABC’s youngest boxers took centre stage as the club held its final home show of the season.
Despite their lack of experience, there was no shortage of effort and skill as 12 local up-and-coming stars stepped into the ring at the Club For Young People on Saturday night.
Five of the Bridlington youngsters got the nod from the judges, another three missed out on the decision and four more were involved in skills bouts as they take their first steps in the sport.
Head coach Damien Grant said: “You wouldn’t have guessed that nearly all of them have had less than five bouts.
“There were some tough ones and everyone that boxed showed how much heart and passion they have got.
“Everyone gave an outstanding performance and all the skills bouts were boxed to a very high standard.
“There was some tremendous team spirit on show which is great to be apart of.
The star of the night was Cam Connelly, who ended the unbeaten record of his opponent Michael Smith from the Highfields ABC in Doncaster.
MC Gary Gibson said the 42kg schoolboy contest produced ‘three of the most skilful rounds of boxing you will see for a long time’.
Connelly took the best home boxer of the night trophy, but such were the efforts of his South Yorkshire opponent, Smith was named the best visiting boxer, despite being on the wrong end of a unanimous decision from the judges.
Grant said: “Cam Connelly produced some very clever boxing to out-skill his opponent. A very confident and mature performance.”
For sheer entertainment, the next bout between Jack Marshall and Tommy Tunny of York ABC was the highlight of the evening.
The pair produced three non-stop rounds of thrilling action.
It may have lacked the technical skills on show in other contests, but you couldn’t take your eyes off it.
It was breathless from the first bell to the last, and both boxers were backed by a vocal set of supporters who were convinced their man had done enough to take the honours.
Tunny’s face showed he couldn’t believe the judges had given a unanimous decision to Marshall, and the York contingent were far from happy with the outcome, but he had contributed to an enthralling battle.
Coach Grant said: “Jack gave his absolute all. Both he and his opponent showed tremendous heart throughout the contest and was a thrill to watch.
“Both boxers deserve commending in such an exiting contest but Jack’s work rate and convincing punches warranted probably his hardest-fought win.”
Rounding off the bill was Bridlington’s England champion James Precious, who took on Tyler Hadrell of Rotherham in a 47kg contest.
They had gone head-to-head twice in the past, with Hadrell winning both bouts, but precious showed the progress he has made in the last two years to take his revenge.
After a high-tempo start, when the initial over-enthusiasm calmed down, Precious showed why he has earned national honours by landing the cleaner blows.
He was made to work hard by Hadrell, and later admitted that the South Yorkshire lad had landed some tough punches. But Precious showed his skill against a solid and awkward opponent and earned a split decision win.
“ James has come on, building up some great experience along the way and showed again how this pays off,” said Grant.
The Bridlington Club’s other winners on the night were Declan Potts and Rolson Larkham, who boxed in the first half of the show.
Potts was fighting on the back of a testing fight in South Normanton a week earlier, and took on Jake Fowler from Sheffield’s Jubilee ABC.
He made a confident start and pinned Fowler back for long periods of the first round.
Potts demonstrated a really comfortable style as the fight went on and landed some good shots in the final round, with the outcome never really looking in doubt.
His coach said: “Declan had a really tough bout the other week but this win shows why we take those kind of bouts.
“It gave him some great experience to use here.”
Larkham looked to have a tough test in his hands as he stepped into the ring against Daniel Puckering of the City of Hull ABC.
“Rolson gave away a lot of experience to his opponent, but he boxed exactly as he was instructed in a perfect performance to take a well earned win,” said Grant.
A good left-hand midway through the first round had Puckering rocking and Larkham made a promising start to the second round too.
By the end of the contest, Puckering had received a warning from referee Sue Thompson and Larkham went on to get a unanimous decision.
Aaron Long was given less than 12 hours notice that he would be having a full contest, rather than a skills bout as planned.
“He stepped up well and worked hard throughout. He took a few good punches but landed some cracking ones himself. A great first effort and looking forward to next season,” said Grant.
Long was facing Rotherham’s Matthew Bailey and started well, landing some good combinations in the opening stages.
By the second nose, his nose was bloodied and he was struggling in the third, and had to take two standing counts late in the fight.
He had rallied after the first count, but Bailey gained the upper hand again and was a comfortable winner.
A hugely spirited boxer who missed out on a win was Bridlington’s Harry Connelly.
Tackling Davey Adams of Brodsworth, Connelly showed great agility and speed around the ring and gave a really gutsy display.
Despite the result, he still had a smile on his face as the result was announced and Grant was full of praise for his attitude.
“Harry didn’t get the decision but was unbelievably gracious in his defeat and showed a sense of sportsmanship that is missing from many professional athletes.
“I’m extremely proud of him as he wanted to get a win more than most, so to be so sporting in that situation is a testament to his character.
Meanwhile, two debutants stepped through the ropes when Kane Guille faced Lewis Temperton of West Hull ABC.
Temperton was a mobile opponent but Guille showed signs of promise in the first round and showed a good defence to counter the Hull lad’s shots.
There was plenty of hard work and determination from Guille, who was boxing at the 47kg weight, but temperton earned a unanimous decision.
“Kane showed some good skills in a close contest and for his first competitive bout, was a good performance,” added Grant.
In the skills bouts at the start of the night, Robert Larkham lasted the course well in an even contest against Scarborough’s Riley Metcalf.
Ted Wray dominated Matthew Oliver from East Hull who was in his first contest. On the ball from the first bell, he had a good reach and kept up his workrate throughout.
Harvie Retallic certainly didn’t lack confidence as he traded blows with City of Hull’s Lewis Pawson and looked particularly strong over the three rounds.
The final skills bouts saw a contrast in styles as Bridlington’s Jimmy Cheston tackled Bradley Davis from Stainforth ABC, and he kept going to the end, even as the pace slowed in the later stages.
Grant said: “Harvie gave another confident and mature performance, brilliant at just 10 years old.
“Ted showed some massive improvements in his skills bout. He is listening and learning all the time.
“Robert Larkham, in his first skills contest, looked very good. A lot of confidence in his boxing.
“Jimmy had a return skills bout from the other week and looked to have made some improvements and showed some good skills.”
See a video of the night at www.bridlingtonfree press.co.uk