Newbiggin hosted the preliminary rounds of the junior ABA’s on saturday and two Sunderland fighters produced the fight of the day.
Leon Birley (Hetton) was victorious over Luke Thompson (Sunderland East End) in a mouth-watering 70kg quarter-final clash that could have gone either way.
Birley (above in the blue) was the far more experienced of the two as Thompson was only competing in his fifth fight and ultimately Birley made that experience count.
Both boxers landed some heavy shots and the fight was a good old-fashioned brawl in the end. In the first round Thompson caught Birley with a really strong uppercut but Birley kept his boxing together and showed a lot of aggression himself.
In the final round Birley caught Thompson with a big left hook but Thompson came back with a good combination that resulted in a standing eight count for Birley. That looked as though it may have swung things in the East End fighters favour but Birley got the win 23-16.
Thompson said: “I thought I started slowly, but I was taking most shots on the gloves and he missed with a few shots. Second round I thought I took control of the centre and started putting my punches together successfully, and third round I thought I had control all together with the standing count and I felt strong enough to carry on my onslaught. To be fair it was a close bout which I thought I edged, but that’s the way boxing goes. I picked a slight injury to my left wrist but once that’s healed up I’ll be back at the gym training hard for another bout.”
Birley Said of the fight: “I could have boxed a bit better and I could have improved my defence and avoided the standing count. I was very happy to win and I’m feeling fit for the semi, it’s a hard fight but if I give a 100% I’m confident I’ll win and go on all the way to win the whole competition.”
Leon Birley will fight Lambton Street’s Bobby Begg on Friday in the semi final in another all-Sunderland clash. The winner will then fight the next day in the final at Newbiggin on Saturday.