PORTSMOUTH are on the charge at the England Boxing Elite Championships.
Moneyfields’ Josh Pritchard goes in search of a place at the national quarter-finals tomorrow in Aldershot.
And he will be joined by local favourite Robbie Matthews, as the Royal Navy man bids to continue his exciting run in the competition.
Matthews, who made the national final in Heart of Portsmouth colours, dumped out the army’s hugely-decorated Martin Stead last week.
That was a massive achievement, made all the more impressive by the fact it was the 24-year-old’s first bout in a year.
Stead has won over 140 of his contests in a whopping 173 bout amateur career, and picked up multiple national titles as well as England and Great Britain vests.
But that didn’t overawe Matthews, who picked a split-decision success and took the Combined Services title along the way.
Now Matthews faces Paddy Johns boxer Kane Stewart tomorrow at 64kg as he bids to advance.
With the GB Podium squad entering at the quarter-finals this year, Matthews is determined to advance and test himself against amateur boxing’s elite.
He said: ‘Everyone knows what a dangerous and clever boxer Stead is.
‘But I felt I was fit enough and good enough to beat him.
‘He was looking to go out on a high because he’s retiring, but I managed to make sure that wasn’t so.
‘I’m using my brain and prowling more, but still working at a pace.
‘The GB boxers are in it this year and it could be a chance for me to see how close I am to that level.
‘But by beating people like Stead I’m showing I’m deserving. I have nothing to fear.
‘First I’ve got to beat Stewart. He is up-and-coming so I can’t look beyond him.’
Pritchard faces Mayflower’s Chris Adaway at 60kg for his quarter-final spot after dispatching Leigh Park’s Shane Govan.
His father, and Moneyfields’ coach, Aaron Pritchard, said: ‘The Govan bout was not one we wanted because the lads get on and we respect Leigh Park. But that’s boxing and Josh got through.
‘Chris Adaway has had 70 bouts so it will be tough for Josh, but we are quietly confident.
‘Josh has nothing to lose. He’s looking fit, sharp and ready to box.’