Saltash boxing show proves a big hit in Cornish town
CITY boxers set aside seasonal thoughts of goodwill in a night of often thrilling and classy rounds at host club Saltash ABC's well-received open show.
It was also standing-room only at Saltash Working Men's Club for the 11-bout card.
The local support thus vindicating coaches Chris 'Rab' Butler's and Mickey Northfield's belief that the south east Cornish town was crying out for a boxing club.
After a gap of over 20 years, Saltash was re-formed as a going concern back in 2010 and now has upwards of 15 boxers
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Saltash ended with an even split of two wins and two defeats from their boxers, while cross-Tamar Pilgrims ABC returned over the bridge with a 100 per cent record from their three boxers.
However, Saltash light welterweight Mazed Ahmed and the club's Royal Naval coach, Butler, can be forgiven for feeling aggrieved that the hosts did not have a three-win return.
Ahmed, Butler claims, was unfortunate to be stopped midway through the third round when simultaneously exchanged blows with Falmouth & Penryn ABC opponent Dan Hoskin provoked the referee to step in at the Saltash 25-year-old's expense.
"We'll be looking for a re-match, that's for sure – as Maz is still seething and I don't blame him," said Butler.
"He got caught, fair enough, but then so did the other lad, who tottered back to his corner and will know little if anything about his good fortune.
"I think the ref just went for Maz who looked a little more dazed than Hoskin, but our guy was well ahead on points.
"But we're more than happy with the show and plan to have another one in May."
Michael Saxby was a third-round winner, this time in the host club's favour, forcing the referee to prematurely halt the Saltash middleweight's bout with Penzance's Stefan Osbourne.
Twenty-one-year-old Saxby had always looked the more dominant, using his long, rapier-like jab to spear Osbourne, 18, and keep him out of range until the referee weighed in to save the west Cornwall boxer from further punishment.
The only debate among the Saltash coaching staff was how heavyweight boxer Dan Crooks did not have a unanimous points verdict over Torbay ABC's Joe Peach.
Crooks impressed and dominated the three rounds, opined Butler, and while all were satisfied with the win, felt a unanimous verdict would have more fairly reflected their big man's superiority.
However, there was no debate from anyone ringside over Pilgrims prospect Alex Vosper's points victory over Saltash's Ashton Kirby.
Vosper, 16 and making only his third ring appearance, always had too much in his locker for the game Kirby in a skilful three-round, youth light welterweight contest.
There victory, too, for 14-year-old Pilgrim Jake Burnard, who prevailed in an all-action 54kgs contest with Bideford's Ryan Gumbley.
Burnard had already beaten Gumbley over three rounds this season and the re-match full reflected the excitement and frenetic pace of the pair's first meeting.
And making his first competitive appearance in almost a year, Pilgrims' Joe Simpson returned to the ring with a deserved points victory.
The 15-year-old both outboxed and outfought highly-rated Torrington middleweight Billy Butler, whose record now reads eight wins and three losses.
Pilgrims' coach Glyn Mitchell said Simpson had quickly shaken off his ring rust and mixed up style with aggression to make a winning return.
"Three wins out of three and an excellent show over at Saltash – we've got to be happy with that," said Mitchell.
"As a club we've had a terrific season leading up to Christmas and New Year.
"Our statistics attest that we've had 24 contests so far, winning 19 of them.
"And that includes a national (senior novice) title won by Jack Bellingham earlier this month (December).
"How good is that?"
Pilgrims will be holding their first open show of the year at the Guildhall on Saturday January 26.