The next generation of top Portsmouth talent go for ABA Schools’ Championships glory tomorrow.
And they will do so roared on by their local boxing fans on home soil as Stacey ABC host the prestigious competition.
Team Wiseman’s Mark Chamberlain, Ted Harris Boxing Academy’s Harry Needham and host club member Ashley Devenport are the trio of local aces vying for honours.
That is on the second of two days of packed semi-final action at the Charles Dickens Centre in Portsmouth.
Chamberlain boxes at 40kg in class two, while Needham goes at 48kg in class one, with Devenport looking for a repeat of making it to last year’s final as he boxes at 63kg in class three.
It’s been an exciting march to the semis for Chamberlain, who has flown the flag in style for his new outfit from Wecock Farm.
He overcame Johnny Hanrahan from respected London club Repton to make it to the semis.
Now the 14-year-old is one step away from the final as he takes on Berinsfield’s Michael McDonagh for a place in the last stage.
Chamberlain’s development is another case of just what good boxing can do for the younger generation.
His coach Daron Wiseman believes he has made big strides in and out of the ring.
Wiseman said: ‘It’s brilliant for Mark to have got to this stage. We’re all really proud of him and what he has achieved.
‘He started out as quite a shy boy when he first came to us.
‘He’s progressed really well and has come out of his shell as he’s gone along. Mark is a real polite lad and comes from a nice family.
‘He’s been with us since he was seven years old at a tough gym in a tough area.
‘We are a new club and we have some good kids coming through.
‘But we pride ourselves in knowing that none of our junior or senior boxers have ever been in trouble with the police.’
Wiseman added: ‘Mark boxed a really good opponent in the semi-finals.
‘He was very strong but Mark was stronger and outscored him with his skills.
‘That’s five wins out of five for him now and Mark is one step away from the final.
‘It is a boost for him to have the chance to make the final on home soil.
‘Hopefully there will be a lot of people there cheering him on.’
Chamberlain has been fine-tuning his preparations for the semis with sparring at Heart of Portsmouth ahead of the bout.
That has all gone smoothly, now he can’t wait to get in the ring and make his mark.
‘We have been going down to Heart of Portsmouth for sparring and that has been a big help,’ said Wiseman.
‘We know that it is tough at the top but Mark is close to being the number one in England now – and he is ready.’
Team Wiseman have also been boosted by two of their members passing their coaching qualifications.
Jay and Anton Wiseman have both made the grade, helping to safeguard the club’s future.
‘It’s good to see them both pass. Along with Brad Dance and Mark Powell we have a good team here,’ added Wiseman.
‘It is the great dedication of all five coaches at Team Wiseman that help these children progress and develop on the right path in life.’