No titles but plenty to be proud of for boxing trio

Robbie Matthews, left, and Greg Bridet both put in gutsy displays on the way to defeats in their respective ABA finals
Robbie Matthews, left, and Greg Bridet both put in gutsy displays on the way to defeats in their respective ABA finals
Danny Couzens Picture: Neil Marshall

Couzens beats Demetriou on points

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Portsmouth suffered a hat-trick of national final defeats on the big amateur boxing stage last night.

But the performances of Greg Bridet, Robbie Matthews and Ashley Devenport in London delivered major reason for pride in the area’s amateur game.

Bridet suffered a controversial ABA Championship final loss – but announced himself as a major talent in the sport.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) heavyweight’s clash with Simon Barclay earned fight-of-the-night plaudits to an enthralled sell-out crowd at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.

HOP’s Matthews earned pride in a courageous defeat to Wellington’s classy Josh Leather.

And Ted Harris Boxing Academy’s Devenport got his chance to fight for his national Schoolboy crown.

Devenport was controversially disqualified over a row over his gumshield in February, before being reinstated.

He lost a majority decision to Chorley’s Mark Jeffers in a match-up which could easily have gone the other way.

Despite the losses, it was a night which spoke of an exciting future for Portsmouth boxing.

HOP head coach Q Shillingford knows things are looking bright moving forward.

He said: ‘What brilliant performances they were. It’s great news for Portsmouth.

‘From our club’s point of view, we are delighted with what we have achieved. We couldn’t have been prouder.

‘Greg is a winner in our eyes. He should have been given the title.

‘In fact, they are all winners after what they’ve achieved.

‘The ABA chief executive wants to take a look at our boys up at Sheffield.

‘That shows you what an impression we’ve made.

‘Portsmouth has a lot to be very excited and proud about.’