Sunderland will have seven national semi-finalists after a very successful weekend for the region in the ABA junior quarter finals.
Manchester Boxing Centre of Excellence staged the two-day event which pitted North East boxers against North West’s champions.
From Sunderland ABC both Isaac Macleod (above) and Jake Slater made it through as expected but Steven Pattison was defeated and Thomas Robson pulled out in order to compete with his gym the night before against Repton.
Isaac, who is now part of Team GB’s development set up, had a tough test against Newark’s Regis Sugden. Isaac won comfortably 24-6 but after was a little disappointed he hadn’t done more despite controlling the fight.
In the first round Isaac dominated and controlled the fight with a fierce left hook thrown with good range to keep his opponent at distance. However, in the second Sugden stepped it up and, in an attempt to foil Isaac’s obvious class advantage, he got as close as possible stopping the left hook of the Sunderland boxer. Despite this Isaac still managed to double his points by the end of the second and then really took over the fight in the third.
Working out what his opponent was doing Isaac scored a few times in the third with excellent movement as he came in to side step and then land a one-two combination before moving away again.
Despite the dominant performance Isaac felt he could have boxed better and said he can’t wait to get back in for the semi’s on Saturday.
Fillingham was aggressive from the opening bell and it appeared to take Jake by surprise as he constantly got close, not giving Jake any space and landing some very strong punches.
Despite that, a composed Slater found his way in the fight and much like Isaac used his skill and movement to create more space and eventually started landing more punches and caused a horrific nose bleed to his opponent.
After being awarded the fight 28-22 Jake said: “He didn’t surprise me with his strength or his attacks, I’ve known Ryan for years and he’s always been a fit strong kid and is also in the army training everyday so I knew he would be very fit. It was always going to be a tough fight as he is a good kid. He was relentless with his attacks and stood with me until the final bell. I thought the fight was very exciting.
“The main thing though, I got the win and was over the moon. Luckily my mam got all the blood stains out of my vest and shorts as well. The semi’s are this Saturday at Newbiggin and I can’t wait to be honest. Then the finals are a week later in Leeds but all my thoughts are towards Saturday’s semi-finals.”
Sadly though the two won’t be joined by fellow Sunderland ABC boxer Steven Pattison after he was defeated by Zacharey Parker (Swadlincote). The two had met in Steven’s last fight in the CYP’s semi-final with Parker coming out on top then as well.
Before the fight Pattison had been hoping to avenge the defeat but as the bell ran at the end of the fourth the look on Steven’s face said it all as he knew he’d come up short again. The Sunderland boxer did land some big shots particularly with the left hook but ultimately Parker’s right jab got through far too easy and set up for a big shot in the fourth that led to a standing eight count for Steven. Parker took the bout on points 18-11.
On the Saturday two other Sunderland boxers were successful as Josh Kelly (Houghton) defeated McCauley McGowan (Egan’s) 30-17 in a thrilling contest between two former champions.
Hetton Town’s Todd Davis was also successful after defying the odds against former champion Steed Woodall to book himself a place in the semi’s.
Sunday was the turn of the four Lambton Street boxers and of the four, Lambton managed to produce another two semi-finalists.
First Bobby Begg, who has been very impressive throughout the competition, picked up another win against Mitchell Roberts to progress. After he said:
“In the second round I hurt my hand but I feel I boxed quite well. I was against a strong tough fighter with tight hands so I had to just bash the body shots in for him to open up, and I beat him 18 – 9. I’m very confident on winning the semis I’m fighting a kid called Blondy Price and my hand will be fine by then.”
Begg will be joined in the semi’s by Curtis Todd also of Lambton Street. Curtis disposed of Ainsley Ratcliff in a tight contest and is optimistic and excited about the prospect of becoming national champion.
“I felt I started the bout quite slow and didn’t really get out of first gear. At the end of the 1st round we were 4-4 on the score cards but I knew I could step it up a gear so I started to let my shots go and that is how I got the decision. I threw a lot of straight shots, also I pivoted after my left hooks and I could tell he didn’t like it.
“I was really pleased when I won because all the hard training and healthy eating I had done paid off. I am only 2 fights away from being the best in England and I think I have a really good chance of winning the junior ABA’s.”
Bobby and Curtis won’t be joined by Steve Lavender and Anthony Austin who were both unable to go any further in the competition.
Lavender had received a walkover to this stage but Austin put on an impressive display in Newbiggin to become North East champion and said of his defeat to Sahir Iqbal: “I felt I boxed the best I could against him, he was too good and tall and counter punched every attack I came at him with, although sometimes I landed some good shots.
“I felt disappointed about the result but after the bout I found out the lad had won the nationals three times and was rated seventh in the world rankings so I know he was one of the best about and he will go on and win the title again. I’ll keep training for Lambton Street’s show at the end of the season and hopefully I’ll win there.”
So Macleod, Slater, Kelly, Davis, Begg, Todd and Ryan Conley (of Hylton Castle, received a walkover to the semi’s) will all be in action this Saturday for the semi-finals, which will be held in Newbiggin.
It looks set to be an incredible event and with that many bouts to get through there will be two rings up in the hall making for an even more incredible atmosphere.