England calling for Devenport after final loss

Ashley Devenport is on the verge of an England call-up
Ashley Devenport is on the verge of an England call-up

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Ashley Devenport is set for an international call-up after a narrow loss in his ABA Schoolboy Championships final.

The Stacey ABC boxer went down to a tight defeat to School of Kettering’s William McCann in the national event in Liverpool.

McCann edged a majority verdict in the class three clash at 63kg.

It proved a nip-and-tuck meeting between two evenly-matched boxers in the contest.

But it was McCann whose arm was raised after the final bell.

Stacey coach Yinka Bello had no complaints with the decision in a bout which could have gone either way.

But the news Devenport is expected to be given an England schoolboys call-up will lift him after the loss.

The 14-year-old is due to take part in the Tri-Nations, which is pencilled in to take place in May.

Bello said: ‘It was a tight bout which could have gone either way.

‘Ash didn’t perform quite as well as his semi-final.

‘The other boy started well but Ash picked it up in the second and had a fantastic third round.

‘Maybe we just needed a couple more clean shots just to tilt it.

‘We thought we could have won it, but it was a close contest and they were very well matched.

‘It looks like he will get a chance in the Tri-Nations. So he can get the chance to box for a gold medal there.

‘The chance to box for your country is something to look forward to.’

Bello praised the progress Devenport has made in recent months. The teenager became disillusioned with boxing after being thrown out of the ABA Schoolboy Championships last year after a row over the colour of his gumshield, before later being reinstated.

Bello said: ‘It’s happened really quickly for Ash this year.

‘We didn’t envisage entering him because it was just about him boxing again after he had lost heart.

‘We got him training again and it was a last-minute thing. We feel he is improving and he wants to keep going.

‘Obviously he’s disappointed but he’s reached a national final.

‘He’s a bright kid and he knows where to improve.

‘But we are really happy with what he has achieved in a short period.’