Young Portsmouth boxer set for rematch after gumshield row

REPRIEVE Boxer Ashley Devenport, 13, will get another chance to fight for a national title.  Picture: Steve Reid (120694-103)
REPRIEVE Boxer Ashley Devenport, 13, will get another chance to fight for a national title. Picture: Steve Reid (120694-103)
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A YOUNG boxer left distraught after a dubious refereeing decision cost him a shot at a title has another chance to realise his dream.

Ashley Devenport, 13, was disqualified before his ABA Schoolboy Championships final in February – because the referee thought he was wearing a red gumshield.

It had been passed twice by a doctor shortly before the final.

The Springfield School student’s camp were left outraged, insisting the shield was orange, as previously reported in The News.

Now the promising Drayton teenager has been told he will be given a rematch after an official complaint was lodged with the boxing board.

A date and venue has yet to be set but the youngster and his camp from the Ted Harris Boxing Academy confirm he will fight wearing a clear gum shield.

Ashley said he is now more determined to get his hands on the title.

He said: ‘I’m feeling very relieved that I’m getting another chance.

‘I’m excited for the opportunity and more eager to win the fight now.

‘I’m training hard six days a week for it, and I’d like to thank The News for bringing this story to light.’

His trainer Ted Harris, 71, said it was the right outcome.

He said: ‘This means, win or lose, Ashley now has the chance to box for the title.

‘We are thankful to everyone who realised this was so unfair and battled for the chance for him to be allowed to box for his dream.

‘The efforts of The News and the work of Ken Charman and Lou Stamp from Hampshire ABA has been key.

‘Even England coach Mike Gannon got involved and pushed for the right outcome.

‘He’s really buzzing and wants to get the job done now.’

Ken Charman, honorary secretary of the Isle of Wight ABA, said the winner of the rematch could be picked for England in an up-coming tri-nations tournament.

He said: ‘It has been decided by the championship committee that operate within the ABA and they told me that, after consideration, it shouldn’t have been dealt with in the way it was.

‘The story had some impact. There needed to be a greater awareness of the situation

‘There will be a rematch and it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

‘Obviously it’s one of the more important titles in a young boxer’s career.

‘At the lad’s age, to get to the final and not be allowed to contest it is devastating.’

He added the return bout is likely to be held at a neutral venue in the next month.