Bendle is ‘ready to rock and roll’

Ben Bendle with Q Shillingford of HOP. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131345-4420)
Ben Bendle with Q Shillingford of HOP. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131345-4420)
Joel McIntyre. Picture: Sarah Standing (161623-8349)

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Ben Bendle warmed up for his shot at Junior ABA glory and was told: You’re ready.

The Heart of Portsmouth powerhouse takes on Shrewsbury’s James Price tomorrow for the national title.

The pair square off in Mansfield with the class five 75kg title at stake.

Bendle will be aiming to go one step further than his final appearance in the same competition two years ago.

The 16-year-old has undergone some intensive training ahead of the clash with Price.

That has included drafting in Royal Navy boxers for sparring.

And his coach, Q Shillingford, believes he is in the right shape both mentally and physically.

He said: ‘Ben’s boxing a Welsh champion and international.

‘He’s experienced and is a rough, tough and fit lad, so Ben will have to be on his game.

‘At this stage the competition is only going to be the best.

‘Ben’s ready though, that’s for sure.

‘We’ve had the navy in for sparring and I’d like to thank their coach, Graham Alderson.

‘It’s been excellent preparation – the fact they are fit and strong has helped him a lot.

‘He’s a very mature lad for his age and we’ve kept him on the same training routine – hard sparring, bag and pad work.

‘Our coaches Jason Evans and Colin Williams have done great jobs in helping prepare Ben.

‘His training has been fantastic because of his dedication.

‘Ben’s weight is spot on. He’s fit, strong and ready to rock and roll.’

Shillingford believes Bendle’s march to the final justifies him linking up with HOP after leaving Woking ABC.

And the progress he has made in developing his skills underlines it was the right move to make.

Shillingford said: ‘Ben was up in Surrey but said he wanted to come down and box for us.

‘He could have gone anywhere but he and his parents felt comfortable with us.

‘He was a total come-forward boxer but has learned to pick his punches a bit more.

‘He’s taken to that naturally and moves his head away from punches naturally.

‘Ben will also spot opportunities many boxers wouldn’t and throw punches from lots of angles.

‘He’s definitely made a lot of improvements.’