Hat-trick for Walsall clubs in the junior ABAs
Amateur boxing clubs in Walsall were today celebrating a hat-trick of West Midlands champions in the junior ABA competition.
Pleck ABC and Walsall Wood ABC will each have three fighters involved in the first national stages, the pre-quarter finals, in Great Barr this weekend.
Rocky Lee in Class Four - boxers born in 1997 - at 57kg scored a unanimous points victory over Burton ABC's Shazad Ali in Tamworth yesterday.
Zohaib Hanif joined him at 70kg, also in Class Four, after defeating Luke Freemantle, from Triumph ABC in Coventry, by the same points margin.
Pleck's James Beech is already through at 52kg, after beating Solihull ABC''s Adleigh Palmer the previous week in Class Four.
Walsall Wood's Daniel Breeze progressed without boxing at 66kg in Class Five - fighters born in 1996 - after opponent Jake Birch, from Studio ABC in Coventry, pulled out.
Club-mate Shaun Cooper was also through at 60kg after winning twice in 24 hours two weeks ago.
And Joseph Stevenson excelled in claiming his West Midlands champion vest by outpointing and outsmarting Studio's Reece Hackett at 71kg in Class Six, boxers born in 1995.
Hard-hitter Hackett was nullified by the movement of Stevenson as he struggled to land the big left hook, leaving himself open to counter punches.
But Walsall Wood's Josh Beech went out to Ikram Hussain, from St Francis ABC in Birmingham, by third round stoppage at 7okg in Class Five.
Beech had been hurt in the first round by three loaded left uppercuts but survived the first and second sessions, although he was trailing on points.
He went out all guns blazing in the last round to save the fight and walked straight onto a stiff right, forcing a standing count and the end of the fight.
Wodensborough ABC's Benjamin Whittacre clashed with Bartley Green ABC's Marvin Campbell in Class Four at 63kg.
It was an ugly affair yesterday which saw both have two points deducted for rule-breaking, Whittcare taking a standing count in the second round.
But he was ruled the victor by a unanimous points margin and eased through to the national stages, while three Wednesbury ABC entrants went out.
Kyle Shirley - in Class Four at 60kg - couldn't get near enough to Birmingham City ABC's Irfan Ali and lost unanimously on points.
The same fate befell club-mate Dillon Rattu in Class Six when he came across nemesis Hamza Basharat at 51kg.
Aston ABC's Basharat already held a win over Rattu and repeated the trick, with Wednesbury's Jake Doody also going out in Class Six.
Doody was defeated unanimously on points to Aston's Mason Lynn at 54kg, leaving Jack Wood at 57kg their only hope in the competition.
Wood is already through to the national stages after outpointing Liam Shiels, from Nechells Green ABC in Birmingham, the previous weekend.
Warley ABC's Ahmad Mahazi, Afghan-born but a resident of the the Black Country, was eliminated at 75kg in Class Five.
Mahazi clashed with Shrewsbury ABC's James Price, who operated with the cleaner work in the first and second rounds, which won him the fight.
Price had a point deducted for clenching in the third round but had already done enough to take a majority points decision over his opponent.
Callum Connelly had the hopes of Rugeley Police Boys ABC riding on his shoulders but the club's dreams of claiming an area title came to an end.
Connelly, who attended an interview to become a Marine two days earlier, was battling John Stokes, from Tom Lowe ABC in Stoke-on-Trent.
They clashed at 75kg in Class Four with Connelly forcing his opponent onto the back foot and towards the ropes with assaults in the first round.
Come the second, Connelly was jabbing with the right hand to set up the left hook but Stokes fired back with some big shots of his own, although not always landing.
A close-run third round left the result in doubt as Stokes threw everything at Connelly, who fended him off with the long jab, to force the issue with the judges.
They went unanimously with Stokes and Connelly went out of the competition, before the national stages begin in Great Barr this weekend.
Connor Jones, from Lions ABC in Dudley, progressed the previous weekend against Capitol ABC's Westley Sykes at 57kg in Class Five.
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