Butler serves up national title glory

Moneyfields' Joe Butler Picture: Malcolm Wells
Moneyfields' Joe Butler Picture: Malcolm Wells
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JOE BUTLER is Portsmouth’s latest national boxing champion.

The youngster is celebrating victory at the National Association of Boys and Girls’ Club’ Championships.

Joe reminds me of Tony Oakey

Colin Hooker

The Moneyfields ace took a deserved success over Gemini’s Jake Harrison in the final of the competition in Bristol.

Butler gained a split-decision win over Harrison at 50kg in Class B of the championships.

That was a landmark success for the 16-year-old as he showed his versatile talent.

The southpaw picked his shots well and used good angles while delivering the more accurate shots throughout the match-up.

And that ensured he emerged victorious against his Liverpool-based opponent.

Proud Moneyfields coach, Colin Hooker, felt Butler was given the reward for the work he put into preparing for the championships.

Hooker explained the talent’s ability has never been in doubt – but now it is being matched by work-rate.

He said: ‘It was a split-decision but I thought Joe won every round.

‘Their coach felt he was nicking it all the way through, too.

‘He was just that little bit sharper and more accurate all the way through.

‘He’s very short, so people would think he’s a brawler.

‘But he hits and moves very well and has great movement on the outside.

‘He’s a southpaw who throws a lot of shots from angles, and that confuses his opponents.

‘He looks to throw combinations of threes and fours. If he doesn’t catch you with the first one, he will with the second or third.

‘Joe reminds me of Tony Oakey in a way. He was short and people thought he was a brawler.

‘But Tony had a very under-estimated boxing brain. Joe is the same.

‘He was happy afterwards and wanted to thank his girlfriend, Danielle.

‘Joe is very talented, but he hasn’t always given 100 per cent to his training.

‘He’s done it this year – and he’s walking away with a national title.’

Butler’s national win represents the latest success for Moneyfields and one of the most respected and established names on the boxing circuit in the shape of Hooker.

Hooker has been coaching in the sport for 38 years at a host of clubs, including Stamshaw ABC, University of Portsmouth and Chimes ABC.

Now Moneyfields have picked up two national champions, two national finallists and two Haringey Cup winners, along with a national semi-finallist and quarter-finallist.

Hooker rates the current set-up, which can also call on coaches Graham Thomson, Tony Knowles and Joby Linn, as the best he’s worked with.

He said: ‘We’ve had a great run.

‘We’ve had all of our recent success and there has been Michael and Lucas Ballingall in the pros, too. They are part of our boxing family.

‘There’s a great mix among the coaches. There’s the right blend of experience and enthusiasm.

‘I’ve had a bit of a hard time lately, with losing my dad and my mum not being well.

‘But this is probably the best bunch I’ve had at a club.

‘I’ve been around for a while but I’ve never been happier at a club.’