Devenport ready as he finally gets national title shot

Boxer Ashley Davenport gets his chance for national glory tonight
Boxer Ashley Davenport gets his chance for national glory tonight
Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy's Ivy-Jane Smith

Heart of Portsmouth ace aiming to become world champion

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Ashley Devenport is in the shape of his life as he is finally given his dream national title shot tonight.

Devenport gets his crack at the Schoolboys Championship crown at the home of boxing in London.

The Ted Harris Boxing Academy talent is in action at York Hall despite being controversially disqualified from the event in February over a row over the colour his gumshield.

Devenport was told he could not compete by the referee seconds before his bout because he was deemed to have a red gumshield, which is not allowed in boxing.

The Springfield School pupil’s team insisted the mouth piece was orange, however, and were backed up by the fact that Devenport had fought in all the previous rounds wearing the same gumshield.

The 13-year-old was reinstated when the manner of his disqualification came to light and a complaint was made.

Now, Devenport is gunning to make the most of his chance when he meets Mark Jeffers in their class 2 57kg clash.

His preparations couldn’t have gone any better, with the Drayton talent receiving top sparring to sharpen his skills.

Devenport has travelled to prestigious London clubs Repton and West Ham and also sparred at Guildford and with the Hampshire squad.

Trainer Ted Harris has sensed his charge is hungry and ready for his opportunity.

Harris said: ‘Ash is buzzing.

‘He’s been on fire in sparring and everything is spot on. We took him to Repton on Sunday for eight rounds’ sparring, and he came through that really well with all their top talents.

‘It’s a relief to finally be able to box for the title. He is going to be able to let off steam.

‘He deserves his chance. He’s waited long enough for it.

‘But the right outcome has been reached and now he has a fair crack at the title. That’s all we asked for.

‘Ash is a strong, mature boy. He doesn’t get fazed and is strong and aggressive in the ring. He’s ready.’

With the contest being rescheduled, Devenport’s final will now act as the curtain-raiser for the ABA finals.

And it also presents the teenager with the chance to step out at York Hall and follow in the footsteps of countless British boxing greats.

Harris said: ‘It’s an honour for Ash. It’s going to be a great experience for him, and one day he may be doing that again.’