Defeat but a silver lining for Bendle

Ben Bendle
Ben Bendle
Dave Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Birmingham wins Irish friends as he eyes future title

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Ben Bendle struck silver as his Tri-Nations Tournament campaign ended in a narrow final defeat.

The Heart of Portsmouth powerhouse was narrowly beaten by Scottish champ Paul Lowther in the final of the international event in Swansea.

Lowther grabbed a 13-10 success in an entertaining contest that could have gone either way.

Both boxers landed clean, scoring punches throughout the three rounds of battle.

But it was Lowther the judges gave the points verdict to, although many ringside felt Bendle, nicknamed the Bull, had done enough to edge the match-up.

Bendle’s coach, Q Shillingford, praised the 16-year-old for the quality of his performance.

He made the final after collecting the Junior ABA title and then defeating Welsh champ Connor Davies in his opening tri-nations encounter.

Shillingford believes the consistency of Bendle’s performances bodes well for the future.

He said: ‘It was a great bout with both boxers landing hard and accurate punches.

‘The decision could have gone either way. It was that close.

‘Lowther’s coach didn’t know who’d won it and we thought he’d done enough but that is the way it goes in close bouts.

‘When a bout is like that and you don’t get the result it’s always disappointing.

‘But it was a great performance from Ben and he has performed well all the way through the championships.

‘He has been consistent and boxed well every time he’s got into the ring.

‘He can be very proud of that. It’s the sign of a good athlete to perform consistently.

‘A lot of the boxing fraternity commented on how well he’s done.

‘The GB coach was at the championships and said how impressed he was with his performance.

‘Ben dominated the English championship and then dominated the Welsh champion on Friday.

‘Ben is a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work, commitment and discipline.

‘He can be proud of his achievements and how far he has come.’

The tournament brings to a close a busy period for Bendle after taking the junior crown and then representing his country.

Shillingford explained he will now be having a period of rest.

But Bendle has one eye on a rematch with Lowther further down the line.

Shillingford said: ‘Ben will have a break now because he’s been working hard all season.

‘He’s had good backing from Colin Williams, Jason Evans and all the coaches at HOP.

‘We went up to Scotland last season to box and they were supposed to come down here this season, but it never happened.

‘It would be good if they did come down and we got the rematch.

‘That is something we will look at.

‘Ben has a lot of talent and a bright future to look forward to.

‘It’s onwards and upwards for him.’