Francois plays it smart to claim home win

Jonathan Francois, right, is given the verdict. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Jonathan Francois, right, is given the verdict. Picture: Allan Hutchings

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JONATHAN Francois was delighted to do his bit for home morale as he saw off tough foe Michael Darville on Saturday.

It was an attritional battle between the Portsmouth University talent and his Foley ABC rival.

Home fighters were matched hard by coach Wayne Kong-Gardiner on a day of fierce competition.

It made for exhilarating viewing as the first daytime show put on by Portsmouth Amateur Boxing Club was a success at Priory Sports Centre, Southsea.

Francois felt it was crucial he set a good example to his club-mates – especially with four home fighters making their debuts.

He said: ‘You need to boost morale for the guys so it was great to get the win.

‘A lot of them are new – in their first bouts.

‘So, even if you lose, you have to show that you are positive within loss, so that they don’t take it so hard if they do lose.

‘And if they do win that is just a bonus.

‘We don’t want to get them over confident.

‘It’s about making sure they win fights and they train hard.

‘One of the things our coach Wayne told us is that boxing is not an individual sport – especially within uni.

‘We are all here to support each other and it definitely helps a lot when you are hearing your friends on the side cheering you on.

‘It does give you that boost.’

Francois got the nod from the judges after grinding out a strong performance.

He was able to dig deep into his energy resources with the tank running low.

A combination of quick hand speed and a succession of powerful body shots proved key.

Francois added: ‘I came in a bit tired but I knew that once I got in there I had to just pull through.

‘He was a good fighter. He put a lot of pressure on.

‘I knew that I would probably be on the back foot more often because I felt tired from training.

‘But I relied a lot on my movement and to keep him at bay with the jab.

‘I had to step it up – play smart and pick my shots well.

‘It was important that I was the faster one, so I had to slow him down as well.

‘I found the right hand to the body, left hook was working quite well.

‘In the third round he was definitely going to come out and that’s when I had to get him with good clean shots the judges were going to see.

‘By the end of the fight I knew I probably edged it.’