Bexhill Boxing Club open show enjoyed by packed house

Dennis Buchanan throws a left hand during Bexhill Amateur Boxing Club's open show. Picture courtesy Luke Jones, Bexhill Film Company
Dennis Buchanan throws a left hand during Bexhill Amateur Boxing Club's open show. Picture courtesy Luke Jones, Bexhill Film Company

Bexhill Amateur Boxing Club hosted an open show at a packed Bexhill Amateur Athletic Club on Saturday night.

An estimated crowd of more than 200 people enjoyed 14 bouts, 10 of them featuring boxers from the host club.

Alfie James raises his arms in victory at Bexhill Amateur Athletic Club on Saturday night. Picture courtesy Luke Jones, Bexhill Film Company

Alfie James raises his arms in victory at Bexhill Amateur Athletic Club on Saturday night. Picture courtesy Luke Jones, Bexhill Film Company

Bexhill ABC coach Terry Freeman said: “As a show it was really good. There was a really good turnout, and a lot of people were commenting on what a great show it was and what a good thing the club is doing by bringing amateur boxing back to Bexhill.”

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Bradley Belcher (12 years, 48 kilos) was the first of Bexhill’s boxers in action, in a skills bout (where there is no winner or loser) with an opponent from the Odyssey gym in Ashford. The pair really showed some good skills in a great skills bout for their age.

Bobby Salmon (14 years, 54 kilos) also had a skills bout, against Billy Brooks (Phoenix ABC, Eastbourne). Salmon handled himself very well on his first ever outing and showed really class, impressing all the coaches and a lot of the crowd.

Salmon’s older brother, Ethan (15 years, 60 kilos), made his debut for Bexhill ABC, albeit with 20 bouts to his name elsewhere. He faced an undefeated opponent from West Kingsdown ABC.

Salmon got drawn into a bit of a scrappy fight, but held his own and caught his opponents with some really clean shots. Although Salmon lost on a unanimous points decision, it was a very close bout which could’ve gone either way.

Jaden Toprak (14 years, 84 kilos) contested his maiden bout, which he took at short notice, against an opponent from Moulsecoomb ABC. Toprak held his own for all three rounds of a terrific contest, but his tall and sharp opponent earned a unanimous decision.

Josh Cato (15 years, 60 kilos) was beaten in the same fashion by an undefeated boxer from Odyssey. Cato boxed very tightly and made his opponent work by keeping very busy, but didn’t manage to throw enough punches.

Alfie James (18 years, 69 kilos) produced his best ever performance to edge a tight contest against a very good opponent, Harry Light (Odyssey), on a split decision.

Club coach Ian Fletcher has been working with James on controlled pressure, and James worked the body and head in stages and caught his opponent with some clean shots.

Jolie Wilkinson (38 years, 60 kilos), who has worked very hard in training since joining from another club, was stopped in the second round of her first bout, against Emma Loch (Eastbourne).

Wilkinson caught her opponent with some good jabs and the occasional right hand during quite a competitive first round, but was forced to take a standing eight count by the aggressive Loch. Wilkinson was caught with some good shots in the second, prompting the referee to step in.

Jazza Mansfield (25 years, 75 kilos) performed well on his Bexhill ABC debut despite being stopped in the third round by a good 77 kilos boxer from West Kingsdown.

Mansfield nearly stopped his opponent with an overhand right in the first round. His opponent survived the round and came out swinging in the second, giving Mansfield a standing eight count. Mansfield was caught cleanly a couple of times in the third and the referee stepped in.

Dennis Buchanan (29 years, 66 kilos) lost on a split decision in a rematch against Aidan Thompson (Royal Navy), much to the dismay of the crowd and Bexhill ABC coaches, who felt he was ‘robbed’.

Buchanan boxed superbly and caught his opponent with lots of clean shots to seemingly win the first round. The second round was a lot closer, but the Bexhill camp felt Buchanan edged it. Buchanan started to tire a bit in the third and Thompson started to get a bit more success, but it seemed a fairly even round.

Buoyed by a victory in London the previous weekend, Steve Jewis (24 years, 60 kilos) took on a more experienced boxer from Eastbourne ABC.

Jewis held his own in a good contest, but the extra experience, and slightly faster hand speed and foot movement of his accomplished opponent meant Jewis was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision.

“Even though we didn’t get all the decisions we wanted, a lot of lads went out to have first bouts for us and we’re proud of everyone’s performance and the way they work in the gym,” continued Freeman. “We’ve got a great gym and a friendly atmosphere.”