Ben Bendle made home advantage count as he stormed to the Junior ABA Championship final.
The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP)powerhouse booked his spot in the prestigious national final with a superb display in Portsmouth on Saturday.
HOP were holding the southern semis of the competition, with some top-quality bouts on show.
And Bendle, nicknamed the Bull, didn’t disappoint as he picked up a unanimous win over Tewkesbury’s Tom Barter.
The 75kg clash at class five proved a crowd-pleasing affair, with both boxers out to put on a show.
It was Bendle who always held the initiative, though, with his extra power and strength shining through.
His coach, Q Shillingford, believes the boxer is making fast-paced developments.
That’s due to the commitment he is putting into his training programme.
Now he has a place in a national final to celebrate as a result of his work ethic.
Shillingford said: ‘Ben is getting better and better all the time.
‘It’s about development in this sport and this year his mindset has been faultless.
‘His commitment and dedication is what he is getting the rewards for.
‘There was massive support for him at the show and he brought the house down.
‘It was great to see all the local crowd getting behind him.
‘Ben is willing to go that extra mile to be the best he can be.
‘With that attitude, he can go a long way.’
Bendle showed good accuracy in his work which made all the difference in his contest with Barter.
That proved a greater maturity as he picked his punches effectively.
‘Ben boxed to instructions and scored really well,’ added Shillingford.
‘He boxed superbly, picking his punches and scoring firmly.
‘He’s choosing his shots better and not just going in throwing punches.
‘The other boy deserves credit because he came to fight.
‘But Ben won well. It was a unanimous decision – and he deserved that.’
Now a trip to Mansfield this weekend lies in wait for Bendle after making the final.
Bendle will be taking on Shrewsbury’s James Price for the national title.
He overcame Lambton Street’s Errol Freeman in the northern semi-final – also last weekend.
Shillingford will be doing his homework in readiness for the final.
And he knows Bendle will be razor sharp for his crack at the national title.
Shillingford said: ‘The contest with Barter was a really good warm-up for the final this weekend in Mansfield.
‘You know it’s going to be tough at this stage.
‘But Ben knows what will be needed.
‘He’s a strong boy, very strong, and is capable of landing heavy shots.
‘He slips punches and hits firmly so the judges can’t ignore the scoring shots.
‘He’s got a hard final now, but will be ready.
‘The bull is ready for the charge!’