BEN BENDLE was left smiling after delivering international victory against Ireland.
Heart of Portsmouth’s heavy-hitter impressed for England in the annual team match as he took on five-time Irish champion Cormac Long in Basingstoke.
The light-heavyweight, nicknamed the Bull, put on an excellent display of power and pressure to get the verdict in an exciting encounter.
Bendle has stepped up in weight and reached the final of the England Youth Championship last month.
That saw the international call arrive for the 17-year-old and provide him with a chance to shine.
It proved a close opening round with a high-calibre opponent in Long.
But Bendle then upped the ante, taking the centre of the ring and outmanoeuvring his opponent.
Sustained attacks in the final round then saw him given the majority decision.
His latest success has now seen Bendle selected for a GB emerging talent camp at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield next month.
HOP head coach Q Shillingford MBE explained it was an impressive performance against a strong opponent for his country.
Shillingford said: ‘It was a good bout for Ben.
‘Cormac Long is a tough opponent, probably about as tough as they come.
‘He’s a five-time Irish champion and as hard as nails.
‘It was a tight first round but then Ben stepped it up with solid attacks.
‘As it unfolded, Ben’s fitness and experience came through and in the end he was on top of the bout.
‘The Irish couldn’t believe how strong he is, and he is stepping up.
‘As he matures, he will really grow into the weight.’
Meanwhile, a host of local boxers are on the march at the England Boxing Schoolboy Championships.
Team Wiseman’s Tyler Halliwell has grabbed a place in the pre-quarter-finals of the competition.
He will take on Pinewood’s Bobby Frankham at 38.5kg in Class, A after impressively progressing – as Southern Counties go up against Home Counties opposition in Bracknell.
Halliwell has been joined by HOP’s Joe Coltas, who booked his place in the next stage with victory over Rumble Boxing Club’s Dylan Kirk.
Coltas boxed to instruction and backed Kirk up with his speed, power and accuracy to eventually break down his rival.
St Edmunds School’s Ollie Fenton shone as he overcame Small Holdings’ Teddy Price and came out a clear winner in a hard match-up.
Harry Brown also picked up a Southern Counties title with two quick wins.
Moneyfields’ Kieran Smith was defeated, before Brown then stopped Rye Town’s Ben Sanderson in 30 seconds.
HOP’s Hampshire & Isle of Wight champions, Connor Grant and Bailey Donald, both delivered brave performances before going down to losses in the last round of championship action.
HOP coach, Paul Kapnisi, praised the performances of all the boxers involved.
He said: ‘They are showing a lot of dedication in the gym.
‘Their commitment to training is now paying off.’