Albie Higgon stayed on course for ABA Schoolboy Championships glory after coming through a serious battle in the latest round at Billericay.
The 14-year-old talent from Victory ABC in Fareham produced a typically gutsy display in the pre-quarter-finals clash with eastern counties in Essex.
And his 26-23 success over Essex-based Deniz Mehmet sealed a quarter-final place at the western counties showdown in Bristol this weekend as he withstood an onslaught that would have downed lesser opponents.
Victory ABC coach Leigh Medway said: ‘I’d been told beforehand that Albie’s opponent was strong, fit and aggressive but I wasn’t told that he was about 5ft 11ins, which is pretty tall for 54kg.
‘If he was a pro, they would be calling him The Octopus.
‘The punches were coming from all sorts of angles and he was all over him like a rash but I think he underestimated Albie’s competitive spirit.
‘He stood there and traded when he had to.
‘Both lads were absolutely exhausted by the end of it but Albie ran out a winner by 26-23 – it was a real battle.’
Medway also believes that Higgon’s extra experience paid off after making real progress in recent times.
The Victory coach said: ‘Albie’s beaten two tall southpaws already this season so he had some of the experience he needed.
‘But these past two seasons have put him in good stead.
‘Maybe he wouldn’t have come out as a winner a year ago but it shows he is going in the right direction.’
Higgon was not the only young boxer to taste success as Tyson Hamer stormed past his opponent Scott Pepper with a dominant performance.
The Mark Davies-trained youngster outclassed his Cambridge-based opponent and left Copnor coach Bob Taylor suitably impressed.
Taylor said: ‘His strength really impressed me.
‘He was four points up after two rounds and then picked up another eight in the last round to win comfortably.
‘He was giving away a couple of kilos, so it was impressive and shows the kind of attitude he’s got.’
Ted Harris’ duo Ashley Davenport and Harry Needham and Moneyfields’ Sid Williams all gained walkovers in the event.
But there was disappointment for Waterlooville’s Harrison Strange who went down by a single point in a tight tussle that could easily have gone the other way.