A Precious moment for champion James

Bridlington ABC's James Precious
Bridlington ABC's James Precious

James Precious has become Bridlington’s newest national boxing champion.

He travelled to Huddersfield on Saturday to compete in the schoolboy under 48kg final against Charlie Matthews of the Welwyn Garden City ABC in North London.

This was his first time entering into the championships, as last season he was not old enough, but the 12-year-old from Bridlington School deserved his shot at the title after good performances in the quarter-final and semi-final.

Bridlington head coach Damien Grant said: “James has done really well, he has worked very hard in each contest he has had throughout the championships and he really upped his game in the final against a very strong opponent who came with a good record.

“He thoroughly deserves the title for all the hard work he puts in the gym. Boxing requires a lot of dedication and commitment and James certainly possesses those qualities.”

Precious was nervous entering the ring in only his 14th amateur contest, but the nerves soon dissipated once the first bell rang. Matthews began with a big back-hand that landed on Precious as he was going in, and his high work rate forced the Bridlington boxer to step back and regroup.

When he went forward again Matthews landed another big back hand but this time Precious managed to work with him a little more. Matthews continued to try to land the big shots as Precious moved in, but by now the Bridlington boxer he knew what to expect and was now managing to avoid the early shots. Precious was moving his head well and stepping out of range, before countering with his own combination of punches.

Matthews was strong for the weight and seemed used to having people back off from him and did not seem comfortable with someone who was prepared to stand and work at a higher pace.

Before the end of the first round Matthews had already begun to tire and Precious finished the round on top. Matthews set off with a fast pace to begin the second round but Precious counter punched well before once again upping the work rate to a level that Matthews could not cope with.

The third round was a very one-sided affair, by this point Matthews did not have a lot of energy left and Precious’ work rate was not about to slow down.

After three rounds of boxing the judges were unanimous in their decision of awarding the contest and the national title to Precious.

He will now box in Durham later this month for a chance to represent England at the forthcoming Schoolboy Tri-Nation Tournament, but will have to beat the champion in the year above him to secure a place.

Precious has become the Bridlington club’s sixth finalist in the last four seasons and the third to win the national title. His team-mate Ben Malone will enter the Junior ABAs which begin in May.