Southern Counties champs crowned in Junior ABAs

Mateusz Ziolkowski
Mateusz Ziolkowski
Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy's Ivy-Jane Smith

Heart of Portsmouth ace aiming to become world champion

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The wins were racked up at the Southern Counties stage of the Junior ABA Championship.

Connor Whittaker, George Stead, Harley Hodgetts and Mateusz Ziolkowski all progressed to the next stage of the national competition.

Ted Harris Boxing Academy’s Whittaker delivered an impressive display on the way to success over Brompton’s John Brazil.

Whittaker caught the eye with strong backhands and decent technique to evade Brazil’s attacks at 52kg.

That pleased his trainer who praised his performance as he advanced.

Harris said: ‘He boxed well for three rounds against a good, strong, tall opponent.

‘Connor was shorter but managed to get to him more and more.

‘The other boy was a straight puncher but Connor rolled and slipped him well.

‘It was a good win.’

That was also the case for Heart of Portsmouth, who had a string of boxers advance.

George Stead delivered a majority decision over Faversham’s Reece Kelly and then overcame another rival from Guildford City to progress.

That means he will now face Portsmouth ABC’s Lucas Ballingall in Brighton in his next outing.

Hodgetts was also a two-time winner to reach the pre-quarter-final stage next weekend at 60kg.

Ziolkowski, below left, continued to enjoy success after picking up the CYP title as he met Swales’ Jason Taylor.

The 70kg talent had to overcome a gutsy rival to chalk up the win, though, with Ziolkowski pushed all the way before getting the unanimous decision.

HOP coach Q Shillingford was pleased with the performances seen from his boxers, as well as the others in action from local clubs.

The winners now continue on their road towards national glory this weekend in Camberley.

Shillingford said: ‘It was a very good day for the club and the city.

‘They showed a lot of hard work and dedication.

‘All the Portsmouth and Hampshire club gave their best and were well represented.’

n Ted Harris Boxing Academy stage their first show this Saturday at Buckland Community Centre.

The action will get under way from 5.30pm with the likes of Boscombe, Nuneaton, Portland and a host of local outfits involved. Tickets cost £10 (£5 juniors).