Devenport does himself proud in narrow defeat

Ashley Devenport impressed after getting his chance in the final at York Hall
Ashley Devenport impressed after getting his chance in the final at York Hall
Joel McIntyre.  Picture: Neil Marshall

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Ashley Devenport spoke of his pride after the narrowest of Schoolboy Championship final losses.

Devenport was finally given his chance to box for the national title at the home of British boxing in London last night.

The 13-year-old was controversially disqualified from his initial class-two 57kg final with Mark Jeffers over a row over the colour of his orange gumshield in February, which the referee insisted was the outlawed red.

But justice was served when the decision was reversed after a complaint was made following a furore over the saga.

And Ted Harris Boxing Academy talent Devenport didn’t disappoint with his display at the York Hall in Bethnal Green last night.

A thoroughly- entertaining bout pleased a sell-out crowd as the evening’s curtain-raiser.

But Jeffers was given the majority decision in a nip-and-tuck affair which could have gone either way.

Devenport thought he’d boxed well enough to take the title but was proud with his display, as he walked in the same footsteps as a host of boxing legends in east London.

He said: ‘I thought I did enough.

‘I messed up on one thing and that was not keeping my hands up and moving enough.

‘It means a lot that people thought I did well and were impressed with how I did.

‘To be honest, it’s an achievement just to get to the final.

‘And I’m happy I was given my chance. It makes me feel better to know that.

‘It was fair and it was done fairly.

‘It’s better to have that then not know what was going to happen.

‘It was a big show and classy for someone like me to box here.

‘It means a lot to have boxed in the same place as so many famous boxers.’

Devenport forced a frenetic pace as he boxed on the outside in the opener.

A couple of classy-looking uppercuts landed as he got inside Jeffers’ long reach.

Both boxers were throwing leather and landing evenly, with Jeffers’ rangy jab a constant feature.

Devenport continued to land punishing shots which caught his opponent off balance and a lovely body shot in the third hurt Jeffers.

Harris was pleased with Devenport’s display and has no doubt he has an exciting future.

He said: ‘I’m proud of him. He did us all proud.

‘Ash has impressed a lot of people and that is a good thing to know.

‘He is going to come on from this and is going to have a bright future.’