Heart of Portsmouth pair on brink of national finals

Heart of Portsmouth boxer Robbie Matthews
Heart of Portsmouth boxer Robbie Matthews
Ivy-Jane Smith. Picture: England Boxing

Heart star will be ready for anything

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A dynamic duo from Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) are one step away from the ABA finals.

Greg Bridet and Robbie Matthews have both advanced to the semi-final stage of the senior national event, which is the showpiece of the amateur boxing world.

Both flew the flag for the Southern Counties as they took on the London region in the latest round of action.

They were the only winners from the region in 12 contests against the best the boxing stronghold has to offer.

HOP captain Matthews was in with Lions ABC’s marauding Haithem Laamouz and had the lightweight’s pressure tactics to contend with. But Matthews did that in impressive style as he romped to a 30-15 success.

The Portsmouth man covered up well and took Laamouz’s shots on the arms before countering with clean scoring and effective jabs and uppercuts.

It was textbook stuff from Matthews and saw him progress along with his team-mate Bridet.

The News Sports Awards sportsman of the year runner-up took on Dagenham’s Robin Dupre and once again showed how quickly he is progressing with another clear success.

Bridet was ahead from the outset and romped to a 20-12 victory after leading 9-4 after the first and 16-8 after the second.

Now, with no opponents earmarked for the pair in the quarter-final stage, they advance to the national semis on March 31.

The carrot being dangled in front of the pair is a trip to the home of the boxing – the York Hall in Bethnal Green – for this year’s national final.

Ted Harris Boxing Academy’s Ashley Devenport will proudly open that event in his rescheduled Schoolboy Championship final.

Devenport has been reinstated after wrongly being thrown of the competition over a row over the colour of his gum shield.

Now Bridet and Matthews are hoping to make the final, which will pave the way for the chance to box against the Great Britain Olympic squad.

Coach Q Shillingford said: ‘They are both on course for great things.

‘They are taking on the best boxers in the country and putting Portsmouth on the boxing map.’