Portsmouth duo Josh Pritchard and Robbie Matthews have been backed to grow from their English Boxing Elite Championship experience after bowing out at the quarter-final stage.
Moneyfields’ Pritchard went down to a contentious split-decision defeat to Jack Daniels in their 60kg clash at Liverpool’s Echo Arena last Friday.
And it was a similar story for Royal Navy’s Matthews as he went out in the last eight against Basingstoke’s Jacob Gabriel at 64kg in a unanimous verdict.
Moneyfields coach and Pritchard’s father, Aaron, who is also Southern Counties ABA secretary, believes his son was unlucky not to progress to the semi-finals.
‘Josh boxed very well,’ said Pritchard.
‘We were desperately disappointed he didn’t get the decision on the day.
‘It was a close bout but we felt Josh landed the better scoring shots and took very little in return.
‘He boxed really well against last year’s national finalist, who then breezed through the semi-finals, before losing to the number one seed.
‘We’re really pleased with the progress he has made this season, though.
‘Despite the fact he lost, we are very proud of him.
‘He’ll be back even stronger next year, that’s for sure.’
With Great Britain’s podium squad entering at the quarter-final stage of the competition, Matthews, like Pritchard, was also up against the nation’s best.
And Pritchard snr believes the Royal Navy man can take a lot of heart from his long-awaited return to competitive action.
He said: ‘Robbie impressed me. Considering he has had 12 months out of the ring, he has done unbelievably well.
‘It was a fantastic fight and a really good display from him, he just got beaten by a slightly better boxer.’
It proved to be third time unlucky for the city’s boxers on Merseyside, as 20-year-old Moneyfields talent Natasha Cole lost a split decision bout with Leicester Unity’s Paige Murney at 69kg in the ‘Diamonds of the Ring’ event.
Pritchard said: ‘Tash boxed extremely well against a very good opponent.’