Top talents return home with titles in the bag

Gosport's Millie Morgan, left, defeated Knowsley Vale's Holly Hodgson with a second-round stoppage

Gosport's Millie Morgan, left, defeated Knowsley Vale's Holly Hodgson with a second-round stoppage

Dave Birmingham, left, v David Miko. Picture: Neil Marshall

Former Pompey man handed dream title shot

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A haul of national titles returned to the area after the Female ABA Championships.

Four winners returned south from the weekend of finals in Manchester, with Gosport’s Millie Morgan, Waterlooville’s Amanda Weston, Portsmouth ABC’s Rebecca Smith and the Navy’s Lucy O’Connor all celebrating.

It was a poignant win for Weston, with victory coming just days after the death of her grandfather.

Weston’s win also came as she stepped up in weight after her original opponent pulled out, and in her final year before she passes the 34-year-old amateur boxing age limit.

The Waterlooville braveheart also had to overcome illness, but that didn’t stop her delivering an exciting 22-14 win over the Navy’s Carla Palin in their meeting.

Coach George Mackenzie paid tribute to Weston’s bravery in entering the final and delivering victory, despite the problems she had to overcome.

Mackenzie said: ‘Amanda was very close to pulling out.

‘She had so many issues. She was very close to her grandad and was upset to lose him.

‘Then she had a chest infection and cold and was on antibiotics.

‘On top of that, she has been told this has to be her last year and had to move up in weight.

‘She has really been through it but showed her bravery to go out there and pull off the win.

‘We’re all really proud of her and what she has achieved.’

Gosport’s Millie Morgan was another hugely impressive winner as she defeated Knowsley Vale’s Holly Hodgson with a second-round stoppage.

Morgan knew the eyes of the national selectors were on her, and took the opportunity with both hands.

She showed that the hard work her Gosport club are putting into female boxing is paying off.

Gosport coach Darren Blair said: ‘Millie is something special and really proved a point with her performance.

‘She stopped her girl in the semis and stopped her girl in the final in front of the England coaching team.

‘Amanda Holloway is really driving the girls forward at Gosport.

‘Things are really moving on at the club and we are leading the way with female boxing.’

Navy talent Lucy O’Connor remains a class act – and showed that quality as she dominated Haringey’s Leah Flintham on the way to a 34-18 victory.

Portsmouth ABC’s Rebecca Smith was a dominant force in her final on the way to becoming champion.

Smith overpowered Leigh’s Katie Smith and stormed to a clear 29-11 victory to mark her club’s continuing emergence.

Team-mate Brooklyn Wearn came up just short in a nip-and-tuck final with Bury’s Sarah Dunne as she lost 20-16.

Victoria Baker could be proud of her brave charge to the final, but that ended up with a second-round loss to Clayton’s Ellis Nuttall.

Exciting Stacey talent Ashleigh Pond lost 19-10 in her final with Bridgwater’s Crystal Barker.

Heart of Portsmouth’s Mondana Fard was defeated by Bredbury Stockport’s Stacey Copeland (29-6), while team-mate Cody Byrnes went down to a 16-3 loss to Hetton Town’s Shauna Taylor.

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