Matthews on march in his bid for national glory

Robbie Matthews, left, bids to make the final of the Senior ABAs
Robbie Matthews, left, bids to make the final of the Senior ABAs
Danny Couzens. Picture: Natalie Mayhew, Butterfly Boxing

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Robbie Matthews bids to make it to the final of the Senior ABAs today and continue a season to remember.

Matthews is just one fight away from making it into the last stage of the prestigious national competition.

The Heart of Portsmouth (HOP) talent takes on Repton’s Brett Beadon in a semi-final bout as he aims to carry on a glory run, which has spoken of his outstanding progress.

Matthews has it all to do as he tackles a talent from a club with a long history of producing champions and big names from the world of boxing.

And he will have to go into the lion’s den to do it, with the semis being staged on Beadon’s doorstep in Dagenham.

The duo meet in the 60kg division, where Matthews has flourished this season since making the move to get down to the weight.

Now HOP coach Colin Williams is backing Matthews to rise to the big occasion.

Williams said: ‘Robbie is in great shape.

‘We have worked hard with him in the build-up to these championships.

‘Robbie will give everything and more.

‘We are all looking forward to the bout – especially Robbie.’

Matthews’ march to the semis has been an impressive one as his development accelerates.

He has already beaten a national champion in the shape of Jimmy Cooper and overcame a tough rival in Jimmy Dean on the way to the semis.

The HOP boxer then handed out a boxing lesson to David Leo in the quarters – romping to a 21-4 success.

Matthews has also undergone sparring with the GB squad, as he gets to grips with the levels to which he must aspire.

HOP coach Q Shillingford believes that experience will stand him in good stead.

He said: ‘Robbie’s preparations for this event have been second to none.

‘He has been all over the country sparring and we have taken him to work with the best in the country.

‘Robbie will always do the best.’

Meanwhile, there were mixed emotions for Josh Pritchard as he was given a bye to the finals of the Junior ABAs at 52kg.

Pritchard’s last-four opponent pulled out, leaving him without a contest.

He now faces either national CYP champ Jack Daniel or England international Joe Mosopha in the final.

Shillingford said: ‘It’s disappointing not to compete but Josh will have a tough final.’