National titles for Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy juniors

Heart of Portsmouth pair Alfie Holman and Ruby Waters were victorious at the national MTX Global Lonsdale Box Cup.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 12:52 pm
Boxers from Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy with their coaches. Ruby Waters and Alfie Holman won their categories at the national MTK Cup in Penrith, while John Boy Doran, front right, was a national finalist. Coaches (from left) are Dave Johnston, Lee Theobald and George Smith. Picture: Stuart Martin

Holman, 12, won the 42kg category by beating Oliver Nickolds (Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire) in the final at Penrith, Cumbria.

Waters, 16, claimed the 60kg in her age group by beating Madelaine Wright (Blake ABC, Bridgwater) in the final.

In addition to his MTK win, Holman had been crowned Hampshire champion en route to losing a split decision in the quarter finals of the national championships.

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Alfie Holman won a MTK Box Cup title in Penrith, Cumbria. Picture: Stuart Martin

Waters, competing in the U16-18 years category for the first time, claimed the Hampshire and Southern & Eastern Counties titles before losing in the national semi-finals. She is currently ranked No 3 in England in her category.

John Boy Doran has also enjoyed a fine year, being crowned Hampshire and Southern Counties champion in the 38.5kg category. Currently ranked No 2 in England, he was a national finalist at Class B level.

A fourth Heart of Portsmouth boxer, 12-year-old Taylor Friend, was also crowned the 2021 Hampshire and Southern & Eastern Counties champion at 38.5kg level. He was a national semi-finalist in his Class A and is currently ranked No 3 in England.

All the club’s junior boxers train under HoP junior head coach Dave Johnston, along with other coaches Georgie Smith, Lee Theobold and Curtis Friend.

Ruby Waters won a MTK Box Cup title in Penrith, Cumbria. Picture: Stuart Martin

‘All the boxers have been working very hard and have put in a lot of effort, commitment and dedication,’ said Johnston.

Elsewhere at HoP, senior boxer Iman Zahmatkesh is currently ranked No 3 in England at 91kg (heavyweight) level. He was a national semi-finalist after being crowned Southern & Eastern Counties champion.

Frustratingly, it was his second semi-final loss at the nationals and is hoping to make it third time lucky in 2022.

HoP senior Holly Heffron suffered a final defeat in her bid to be crowned national champion at her Senior Elite 54kg category.

John Boy Doran was a national finalist in his junior category. Picture: Stuart Martin

Now studying sport science at Birmingham University and boxing for Hall Green BC, Heffron - nicknamed ‘Hurricane’ - lost to Olivia Holmes last week. A silver lining, though, is that she has been invited to a GB assessment camp in the new year.

Q Shillingford, the HoP head coach, was keen to highlight the unsung work of his senior coaching team of Stuart Gibson, Stewart Kennedy and Russ Turner.

‘We have a very dedicated team of coaches who all give 100 per cent to the community boxing club,’ he remarked. ‘Without their valued time and knowledge, HoP would not be the community boxing club that it is today.’

Alfie Holman jumps for joy after being crowned the MTK Box Cup champion
Holly Heffron was beaten in her national final this month, but has been invited to a GB assessment camp in the new year.