Bellingham confirms status as bill topper
JACK BELLINGHAM lived up to his bill-topping status stopping experienced Cornishman Anthony Coles inside the distance on Pilgrims ABC's open show at the Guildhall.
Plymouth's new national boxing champion had gone into the light welterweight clash with the weight of expectation on his shoulders after winning the ABA Senior Novice light middleweight title in December.
Bellingham showed a few nerves early on against the experienced Coles, from Camborne, who edged the first round.
But thereafter, the 22-year-old Pilgrim settled into a groove and slipped the game Coles' punches, responding with stylish counters to take the lead in the scheduled three rounder.
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Bellingham's bout did not get that far as after dropping Coles and also being warned for striking his opponent while on the canvas, the city star took his opponent's breath away with a vicious body shot in the third.
The referee jumped in immediately to spare Coles further punishment and give Bellingham his 17th victory from 24 amateur bouts.
Bellingham will now concentrate on seeing how far he can get in the Senior ABAs, said Pilgrims trainer Glyn Mitchell.
Light welterweight Darren Townley gave Pilgrims and their supporters another reason to be cheerful with a classy points win over Kieran Phipps from Dorset club Oak Mead ABC.
Phipps had come to Plymouth with the reputation of being a big puncher but Townley thwarted his opponent and had the bout won after the first two rounds. Most ringside observers felt Townley had deserved a unanimous rather than a majority winning verdict.
There was also a fine performance and an impressive victory for Kyle Gargett on his Pilgrims' debut.
The light welterweight, who has made the switch from Devonport ABC, outboxed north Devon opponent Nico Fasson over four rounds – the first time the 17-year-old Pilgrim had gone that distance.
Gargett refused to allow the 6ft 2in Fasson to dictate matters and instead outworked the Barnstaple boxer with left jabs and right crosses.
Fasson will be pleased to see the back of Pilgrims boxers having been knocked out in the first round by Townley back in November.
Another spectacular first-round finish came at the Guildhall when Pilgrims youth prospect Alex Vosper KO'd Jake Binci, of Paignton, in just 45 seconds.
Vosper, the latest member of a famous boxing family in Plymouth, found a right hook which connected perfectly with the south Devon opponent's jaw.
In a 38kgs contest between two southpaws, Pilgrims' Lee McLelland came out a close second to Jordan Barrow of Priorswood ABC, in Taunton.
Barrow went home with a majority decision but McLelland, said Mitchell, can be proud of his performance.
Even more unlucky, in Mitchell's eyes, was the unanimous defeat of Ryan Hibberd to Broadplain's Jack Nash.
University of Plymouth student Hibberd lost the three-rounder by a single point on each of the judges' cards, in what Mitchell described as a 'crowd-pleasing tear-up between two, well-prepared and well-coached boxers'.
The remaining two bouts were skills contests between Adam Davidson of Pilgrims and Francisco Andres, from Broadplain, and another host club youngster Ben Jenkins who met Launceston's Edward Orchard.
Mitchell said he wished to thank all the Plymouth boxing fans who came along to support the show and who provided an enthusiastic crowd.
"All the boxers appreciate support and recognition of a good performance and the response from the fans for what was our first show of the season was different class," said Mitchell.
"If our next show at the Guildhall on April 27 can provide the same electric atmosphere, it should be a cracker."