BEN BENDLE’S charge for England Youth Boxing Championship glory ended in brave final defeat.
The Heart of Portsmouth powerhouse came up just short in his meeting with Tamworth’s multi-decorated international Ryan Hatton.
It was Hatton who was given the points verdict after three rounds of the 81kg Class B final in Manchester.
The 17-year-old set a frenetic pace in a entertaining bout between the pair.
That saw Bendle, nicknamed the Bull, take the first round before Hatton came back into the match-up in the second.
It was Hatton’s superior height, weight and reach which eventually made a difference in the third, as he got the unanimous decision.
But Bendle could be pleased with his final performance against such a strong opponent.
His coach, Q Shillingford, believes there was not a lot between the finalists on the day.
And he praised the commitment Bendle showed in going for the title.
Shillingford said: ‘It was a close final but didn’t quite go for Ben.
‘He had a brilliant first round and came out fast and fit.
‘The other boy changed his tactics in the second and took the centre of the ring.
‘So it was all down to the last round. It went punch for punch, blow for blow.
‘But his opponent was that bit bigger and taller and that maybe paid dividends for him.
‘It was close but it went the other way.
‘Ben always gives 100 per cent, though, and can be pleased with how he performed.
‘He will give his last breath trying to win the title. He came out on all cylinders and really set a pace.
‘Every round was close and there was not a lot in it at all.’
Bendle now has a break earmarked before discussing the way forward for his team.
Whether to remain at 81kg will be on the agenda after his title tilt.
Bendle remains on the radar of international bosses after previously boxing in the Tri-Nations Tournament last year, which ended with him collecting a silver medal.
Shillingford said: ‘Ben will take a break now because he’s been training hard.
‘Then we’ll assess his weight when he comes back to the gym.
‘He definitely needs a rest because he works hard.
‘He was boxing a boy whose won many national titles and also won the Tri-Nations.
‘So there was no shame in that loss, especially as it was close.
‘But the international selectors will be keep an eye on him.
‘They have said there will be opportunities and Ben will be in the running for them moving forward.’