Ben Bendle went out in a blaze of glory in the Junior ABA Championships.
The new recruit at Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) went down to a gutsy 21-14 loss to decorated multi-champion Ellis Delaney in the quarter-finals.
But it was a brave effort from the 66kg battler in class four against his highly-regarded opponent.
Delaney had the better of the opening exchanges and the West Ham ABC ace showed why he is rated as one of the best young boxers around.
But Bendle came back into the contest the longer it went on.
And it was the HOP talent who was asking all the questions at the end of the bout, as he forced Delaney on to the back foot.
Bendle’s performance drew praise from HOP boss Q Shillingford, who was impressed with the manner in which he refused to be overawed by taking on one of England’s top talents.
Shillingford said: ‘It was a great bout and it was good to see Ben mix it with a top England kid.
‘Delaney is a three-time schools champion and a gold medallist in the multi-nations.
‘Ben really went for it in the last round and put it on him.
‘It wasn’t quite enough but we couldn’t be happier with how he performed.
‘He now knows what he has to do to get to that level.
‘A couple of coaches I spoke to thought he had done enough on the strength of the last round.
‘The scoreline didn’t reflect the contest in my mind, but we had no complaints with the outcome because Ben was a little slow starting. He wasn’t given a battering, though, because Ben is a good-calibre boxer himself.’
Shillingford believes Bendle has all the qualities needed to have a bright future in boxing.
That was evident from his quarter-final display and the work he has been putting in since joining HOP.
His coach reckons the months ahead, and next season, will see him fulfil his potential.
‘Ben is an exciting boxer,’ said Shillingford.
‘He has boxed for young England before so that shows his ability.
‘We’re glad to have him boxing for Heart of Portsmouth.
‘We’ll make sure he continues to develop and is ready to go into the CYP Championships next year.
‘Ben shows the kind of talent we have in our gym now.
‘There is a great buzz about the club with all the talent we have.’
Portsmouth ABC’s Alfie Steeves was due to box in the quarter-finals against Repton’s Harvey Horn, but failed to make weight in their class five 48kg meeting.
Meanwhile, the English University Boxing Series comes to Portsmouth next month.
The event will be hosted by HOP on May 26 and 27.
University teams from across the country go head to head in a series of competitions throughout the year.
The title then goes to the league winners at the end of the campaign, with HOP holding the second round of action.