Budding boxers target national glory

Ashley Devenport. Picture: Steve Reid (120694-6028)
Ashley Devenport. Picture: Steve Reid (120694-6028)

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The area’s top talents are on the march in the ABA Schoolboy Championships.

A trio of boxers from Heart of Portsmouth were joined by Team Wiseman ace Mark Chamberlain as they were crowned Southern Counties champions.

And last year’s finalist Ashley Devenport is on the charge again for Stacey.

He will be joined in the next round by Ted Harris Boxing Academy pair Jimmy Barnard and Harry Needham, who received byes.

Bailey Fowler, Joe Hunt and Jack Fenton are flying the flag for Heart of Portsmouth.

Fowler defeated St Mary’s Lewis Southgate (42kg), while former national minors champion Joe Hunt (38kg) also overcame a St Mary’s opponent in Billy Eastwood in Class 2.

Their team-mate Jack Fenton was given a walkover in the same class at 46kg, while Team Wiseman’s Chamberlain was a winner over Faversham’s Byron Kirk at 40kg.

Chamberlain’s win showed the hard work is paying off for him in testing conditions at his Wecock club.

His coach Daron Wiseman was proud of his efforts as he racked up his ninth win in 10 contests.

Wiseman said: ‘It’s a brilliant win for Mark.

‘We don’t have it easy at our club but he puts the work in.

‘He’s picking up a lot of wins now and hits hard.

‘To get to the quarter-finals of a national competition is something to be proud of.’

Heart of Portsmouth coach Q Shillingford was delighted to see a trio of his young boxers reach the next stage.

That means they are set to take on the best young talents from London in an effort to make the semis.

Shillingford said: ‘To have three in the quarters is a fine achievement.

‘These boxers all came through the Boxing Awards programme three years ago.

‘That shows you that it’s working and working well.

‘We’re proud of the boys.’

Joseph Butler could count himself unfortunate to go down to a loss to St Mary’s Joe Tindell at 34kg in Class 2.

The Ted Harris Boxing Academy talent went down to a majority defeat, although many watching felt he had won the contest.

Harris said: ‘Joe is a southpaw who comes forward.

‘I thought some of his shots could have brought a count.

‘To see the decision go the other way was surprising.’

Devenport was a winner at 63kg over Westree’s Lewis Payne in Class 3.

In the same class, Morgan Gatenby gave a good account of himself in defeat to Guildford’s talented Gabby Lee at 60kg.