TAYLOR SMITH rose to the occasion as she stormed to the English Title Belt at short notice.
Heart of Portsmouth’s (HOP) powerhouse seized the moment as she took her late opportunity to fight for the honour in Doncaster.
Smith was matched with Shelby ABC’s Amy Bullock in the contest at 69kg.
And, despite having two days to prepare for action, the 17-year-old pulled off an upset to take a split-decision success over four rounds.
Bullock had been given plenty of time to prepare the match-up against the Leigh Park talent.
But Smiith wasn’t fazed by that or the occasion as she started with her straight punches hitting the mark.
The crowd responded as both boxers enjoyed success in the second.
Bullock knew she had it all to do in the third and turned up the pressure, but Smith stood firm in the face of the onslaught.
Smith was the boxer coming forward over the contest’s finale in what proved a close battle which went to the judges.
And that saw celebrations for the HOP boxer as she was given the verdict.
HOP head coach, Q Shillingford, believes the result is reward for the graft Smith has put in over an extended period.
And Shillingford was delighted to see her reap reward for being brave enough to step into the ring late in the day.
He said: ‘Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy are all very proud of Taylor.
‘She took the bout at very short notice and at the same time took the opportunity with both hands.
‘It’s great to see a boxing who’s willing to take the bull by the horns.
‘Taylor is a very committed boxer, training most evenings in the gym and weekends.
‘Taylor is a great role model, to other young people in the gym.
‘She has been with a club for three years and we have seen the improvement from the work she’s put in.
‘We can expect great things from this young lady.’
The boxing season is gathering pace now as talents from across the area gear up for the championships on the horizon.
And HOP will be preparing for that in new premises after making the move to the Omega Centre in Somers Town.
Charter Academy has homed the club for a lengthy period, but their growth has meant HOP needed to find a new permanent base.
Shillingford explained they will continue to work with the club and thanked them for their support.
He said: ‘It’s purely down to the development of Charter.
‘They’ve had a massive increase in pupils. There’s no problem and we are thankful to Charter Academy for all their help.
‘Boxing will remain on the curriculum there and we will continue to with our support.
‘But we are now open all day at our new facility and are more accessible to the community.’