Bull’s charge reaches national final

Ben Bendle is awarded victory over Tom Barter in the semi-finals of the Junior ABA's at the Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy
Ben Bendle is awarded victory over Tom Barter in the semi-finals of the Junior ABA's at the Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy
Jack Smith

Fighting Jack Smith set to be added to city’s boxing memorial

0
Have your say

FIREWORKS are predicted when Ben Bendle goes for English Youth Boxing Championship glory tomorrow.

The Heart of Portsmouth powerhouse, nicknamed the Bull, bids to pick up his second national title on the bounce in the event in Manchester.

Multi-decorated international Ryan Hatton stands in his way as the pair battle it out for the 81kg title in class B.

But Bendle has huge quality and top-level experience on his side himself.

And his coach, Q Shillingford, knows he won’t be found wanting when he steps into the ring.

‘Ben has been there before, knows what he has to do and won’t let the occasion get to him,’ said Shillingford.

‘He has performed well every time in the past and we’re happy he will do the same.

‘The hard work has been done and he’s ready for the big show.

‘He’s a very, very aggressive opponent and a lot bigger than Ben.

‘He’s a fully developed 81kg boxer. Ben is coming up to the weight, but is still strong.

‘So there is going to be a big bang when they meet.

‘We’re excited about it and it’s one of the most anticipated bouts of the finals.’

There was disappointment for Bendle last week when his meeting with Baker Street’s Jack Bannister failed to materialise at the semi-final stage.

A no-show from his opponent put paid to hopes of booking his place in the final on home soil, with the event staged at Charter Sports Centre in Portsmouth.

Although, far from an easy contest, a meeting with Bannister would have given Bendle a great chance to sharpen his skills and earn his place in the final.

But Shillingford feels the work has been put in with sparring with the Royal Navy and army, to ensure he is tuned up for the last stage of action.

He said: ‘Ben was ready to fight last weekend.

‘He was gutted and ready to get in there and go for it.

‘It’s disappointing and would have been good for him to have the contest to sharpen up.

‘But he has done his hard work.

‘Ben has been getting good sparring and our coaches have taken him up to the army, as well as doing work with the navy to get him ready.

‘He’s done the running and sprinting, strength and conditioning and has looked sharp in the ring.’

Shillingford reserved praise for his coaching team in helping Bendle get ready for another shot at the national title.

Jason Evans and Colin Williams have both played key roles in offering support and advice for the 17-year-old.

Now it’s about Bendle using his nous and experience when the bell sounds.

Shillingford added: ‘Jason and Colin deserve a mention for the work they’ve put in. They’ve worked hard on Ben’s fitness for the tournament.

‘Ben has experience and know-how to work on the inside, and when to work will be key.

‘That’s what makes a difference in these conditions.

‘Ben’s experience is second to none.

‘He won it last year and has boxed in the Tri-Nations, so he knows what to expect. He’s ready to rock and roll.’