Bruise brothers on brink of finals

Michael Ballingall-Jnr, left, and his younger brother Lucas meet former world heavyweight with Evander Holyfield during his visit to the Pryamids in Southsea, in September Picture: Mick Young

Michael Ballingall-Jnr, left, and his younger brother Lucas meet former world heavyweight with Evander Holyfield during his visit to the Pryamids in Southsea, in September Picture: Mick Young

Dave Birmingham, left, v David Miko. Picture: Neil Marshall

Former Pompey man handed dream title shot

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THE BALLINGALLS are making tomorrow’s National Ambition Boxing Championship semi-finals a family affair.

Chimes ABC pair Lucas and Mikey stand a single victory away from the finals of the competiton.

And coach Colin Hooker will be hoping history repeats itself as they go into action in the semis in Newbury.

Hooker helped oversee brothers Andrew and Michael Walsh make it to the ABA Championship finals for Portsmouth University in 1996.

The progress of the Ballingalls is testament to their dedication and commitment to the sport.

Both have had their problems in the past, but have showed renewed vigour to match their undoubted ability to make this stage of the competition.

Hooker believes they are now showing the focus needed to be a success.

And that gives them every chance of pulling off victory on the big stage.

Hooker said: ‘It’s a brilliant achievement for the boys.

‘They have worked hard and they deserve to be where they are.

‘Their attitudes have been spot on.

‘Lucas is training hard and has been fantastic.

‘There are four England boys locally he spars with, and he more than holds his own. He’s a great kid.

‘Lucas has become a tall southpaw, and is a very clever boxer. His work-rate has really improved.

‘He used to look really good at the start of contests and fade, but now he’s looking strong at the end

‘Mikey goes up to Aldershot every other Monday with the army squad.

‘They obviously have good lads there, so it’s top-quality sparring.

‘It does feel a little bit like history repeating after the Walsh brothers.

‘They are lovely kids to work with and would be some achievement for them to make the finals.’

Lucas has overcome Waterlooville’s Connor Edney and Slough’s Shahid Hussain to make it to this stage.

And he received the added boost of selection for a recent England talent ID squad session in Aldershot.

The 17-year-old faces Hooks ABC’s Harry Connelly for a place in the final at 54kg.

And brother Mikey has the challenge of facing West Ham’s multi-national champion Jordan Reynolds for his final place.

He warmed up for that contest with good victory over Foley ABC’s Tom Dawson last weekend.

The pair have been gearing up for their contest alongside Floyd Moore, who tackles Ryan ‘Crash Bang’ Taylor for the Southern Area title next month in London.

Hooker said: ‘They are living around professional boxers and boxing has become a lifestyle for them.

‘Mikey has a hard contest against a kid who has won a lot of national titles.

‘But Mikey is an awkward customer and won’t be overawed. He’s beatable, and if anyone can do it, it’s Mikey.

‘Lucas has what it takes to get the win, too. They both have the talent to win.’

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