Super Hooper claims national crown

Owen Hooper
Owen Hooper
Jack Bishop

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Moneyfields boxer Owen Hooper has been crowned national champion.

The 16-year-old claimed the England Boxing Junior Development Championships title at class B under-80kg level with a resounding points victory over Horsley Hill’s Dennis Sparks in Kent on Saturday.

Owen was one of 54 junior boxers competing in the finals at Leystone.

And he dominated his South Shields opponent with some confident and authoritative boxing as he took the honours.

Hooper fought four bouts over six weeks to set up the title clash, including a fine semi-final win over Broad Street’s Frankie Edwards earlier this month.

He was supported by a strong coaching team from Moneyfields, including Colin Hooker, Graham Thomson and Tony Knowles.

Hooker praised his young charge’s success, which saw him build on a run to the schools’ semi-finals last season.

He is now keen to see Hooper push on and taste even greater success – starting with the National Youth Championships early next year.

‘Owen has done fantastically to win this competition and the victory is great for both him and the club,’ said coach Hooker.

‘He’s beaten some big lads along the way and shown he can mix it with the best in the country.

‘Owen boxed really well. He was just on top all the time and beat the boy for strength and speed.

‘He was dominant in every department and caught his opponent with a few body shots and they really took their toll.

‘We worked to Owen’s strengths and he did everything right. He switched the attack and showed great work-rate and great fitness to come through and win.

‘He’s a great all rounder. He’s strong, has good fitness levels, he can box but he can also go to war when needed.

‘Now it’s just about working and improving on all aspects of his game to push him as far as possible.’

The Moneyfields coach believes Hooper is capable of greater things as he progresses through the age ranges.

And the target of international recognition remains in sight.

‘Next year he will be competing in the National Youth Championships,’ said Hooker.

‘And the opportunity to box more experienced boys will be a good challenge for him to help him improve as a boxer.

‘If he can go on and win the Youths it will give him a chance at international level.

‘Graham Thomson in particular has done a lot of work with him.

‘It’s great to see the effort pay off and hopefully there is a lot more to come.’

In achieving his latest success, Hooker has also commended the impact Hooper’s victory has had on the younger boxers at Moneyfields.

‘It’s a great inspiration for the younger guys,’ said the coach.

‘We have a lot of promising boxers coming through and they look at Owen and go “I can do this, too”.

‘A win like this really gives the whole club a boost.’