Local clubs show fighting girl power

Charlie Southam
Charlie Southam
Danny Couzens. Picture: Natalie Mayhew, Butterfly Boxing

Couzens weighs up future after brave defeat

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An army of fighters from the area are on the charge at the Female ABA Championship finals.

A phenomenal 11 boxers from local clubs will bid to become national champions at the last stage of the competition in Manchester.

It’s an outstanding return for the area and underlines its status as a boxing hotbed.

The entries are split across junior and senior status, with four juniors going for glory today.

It’s then over to the senior boxers tomorrow, with the remaining seven boxers aiming for success.

Heart of Portsmouth’s Cody Byrnes will go in the Class 1 section today against Heaton Town’s Shauna Taylor.

She will be joined by Gosport’s Millie Morgan, who is aiming to grab success, in Class 2 after going so close to taking the national title last year against Knowsley Vale’s Holly Hodgson.

Her team are confident of success with Morgan putting the training hours in to go the extra mile this time around.

Ashleigh Pond will bid to crown an exciting period for Stacey ABC after they successfully staged the Senior Novice Championships.

Pond bids to pick up a national title for her club in Class 4, just months after it reformed, against Bridgewater’s Crystal Barker.

Her coach Yinka Bello believes Pond has the talent to grab the win, now it’s about having the mental focus and confidence to go with it.

He said: ‘It’s a tough contest, but it’s all in Ashleigh’s head.

‘She has to have the confidence because she has the class to achieve great things.’

Another of Portsmouth’s leading boxing lights goes in Class 5 as Charlie Southam takes on Braunstone’s Paige Murney.

It’s been a hurtling period of development for the Portsmouth ABC star after competing for England at the European Championships in Russia.

Southam will be joined by a trio of club-mates, with Brooklyn Wearn, Rebecca Smith and Victoria Baker in action at senior level.

Wearn meets Bury’s Sarah Dunne, while Baker goes in with Clayton ABC’s Ellie Nuttall.

Smith meets Leigh’s Katie Smith, with all three fighting in the Class C category for boxers with fewer than five bouts experience.

In the same category HOP’s Mondana Fard takes on Stacey Copeland from Bredbury Stockport.

An intriguing match-up in Class B will see two local boxers face off as Waterlooville’s Amanda Weston meets the navy’s Carla Palin.

And the vastly-experienced navy boxer Lucy O’Connor will be gunning for another title as she meets Haringey ABC’s Leah Flintham.

The huge number of boxers from the area in the finals bodes well for the future.

HOP coach Q Shillingford believes the area should be proud of the achievement.

He said: All of these boxers coming from Portsmouth and the surrounding area really is great news.

‘It’s unbelievable there’s such a high percentage from these parts involved.’

He added: ‘It’s a massive haul.

‘And it shows we are leading the way in amateur boxing.’