Joel Hassan competes in Manchester today after making it to the national ABA’s schoolboy quarter-final.
The Sunderland ABC boxer, who became North East champion after defeating Spennymoor’s Jack Comby, will face Reece Wright (Larches) but admits: “I know his name but that is it.”
That is one of the interesting things of amateur boxing; unless it’s an opponent you’ve fought before then it’s unlikely you will know much about them meaning it comes down to the boxers ability rather than his tactical play.
Hassan, 12, reached the pre-quarter final stage last year in the minor classes but says he feels ‘amazing’ to be in the quarters this year.
“I feel amazing to have won the regional’s because the finals are just a few steps away. I really believe I can win because I am fit and I am ready.”
In getting this far Joel had to compete in two fights at the regional stage, which was hosted by his club at the Rainton Meadows Arena over two weeks. In the semi-final Hassan beat Shildon’s Matty Thompson on points 18-5, and was so dominant that he caused a nose bleed to Thompson. In the final against Comby, Joel overcame being held and pushed back to still win dominantly 17-7.
That set up today’s quarter-finals where the North East champions will meet the North West’s.
Hassan is confident he can get the victory though.
“I started boxing when I was seven because my dad used to box.” He said. “I have always been at Sunderland because they are the best. They give me criticism and make me do loads of hard work, which improves me as a boxer. I have won five-out-of-five so far this season and on Saturday I plan to make it six!”
Joel also revealed he is taking inspiration from Isaac Macleod and Jake Slater. The two Sunderland juniors both won the competition nationally and of course Hassan would love to emulate this.
Beyond this competition, the Barnes boxer has said he would love to compete at the World Championships and the Olympic’s.
Best of luck to Joel.