Boxing’s future stars shine at Chichester black-tie show

Action from the show at Chichester College  Picture by David Campbell-Burns
Action from the show at Chichester College Picture by David Campbell-Burns

SOME potential stars of the future showed off their talents at Chichester’s annual black-tie boxing dinner show.

This fabulous event, held at Chichester College to raise money for much-needed youth clubs, wasn’t without unexpected hiccups - but on the night it was still a roaring success for the punters and charities present.

It is staged by the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory in conjunction with the city’s St Gerards ABC, whose matchmaker Gerry Lavelle said: “With all the machinations and stresses of matchmaking, it was a total nightmare with many pullouts and injuries - even on the day of the show. So we were very lucky to go ahead as planned.

“I’d like to thank everyone who made it happen - the very special people of the ABAE, officials, coaches and boxers alike, the stalwart supporters and Ray Richardson and the Rotary club, and the paying punters who supported this very valuable event for the city of Chichester and its youth.

“We ended up with four competitive contests and one sparring event to fill the evening with a rich display of boxing.”

First up was a sparring demonstration between two young boxers from St Gerards, a good insight into the boxing world, showing the skills and disciplines needed in the sport. Mitchell Coward, 19, demonstrated his skills against Xavier Southerton, 18 in the St Gerards inter-club contest.

Both weighed in around 67kg in the welterweight division and what a cracking display they provided. It featured a sparkling display of moves and grooves from the young pair.

A junior contest over three 90-second rounds followed between St Gerards’ Freddie Hayes and Guildford City’s John James Cooper, both weighing 34kg.

They gave a dazzling display of skills and it was nip and tuck all the way. The two boys never gave an inch in a very pulsating contest.

Cooper was the eventual winner in a very close contest.

Coach Jon Mills said: “We thought Freddie could have got the decision but John James was a worthy winner so well done to him.”

The second bout was another junior contest between St Gerards’ Dennis Hayes and Brandon Vincent of the Golden Ring Boxing Club, both aged 13 and weighing 48-49kg.

St Gerards head coach Gareth Ferguson said Hayes controlled it from centre ring with long clean shots on his attacking opponent. Hayes was in charge in all three rounds, never letting up.

To the home camp’s astonishment, the victory went to Vincent, even though one judge gave it to Hayes in all three rounds.

Ferguson said: “It’s a learning process and Dennis gained more experience from the contest. Another match is scheduled in the near future between these two young warriors.”

Third was a senior event over three two-minute rounds in the light heavyweight division between two St Gerards boxers, Jordan Phillips, 19, and Adam Wicks, 26. The two are sparring partners at the club so it was always going to be close.

It was their first competitive contest as novices and what a belter it was for the audience.

The three rounds were very close with both club-mates giving their all. Phillips came out victor in the end with a very close points win, but both lads were awesome could be very proud of their performances.

Last was a special contest over four two-minute rounds in the light-welterweight division between Shaun Attrell of Hastings Westhill Club and Jacob Gabriel of Basingstoke BC.

It was a humdinger from start to finish with a classic display of boxing, but Attrell was always a step ahead and was the eventual winner.

Lavelle added: “The night turned out amazingly well after all the hiccups so we were really pleased with the eventual outcome and the club would like to thank their main sponsor - tatooist Bill Middleton, who supplies the tracksuits and vests for all their events all over the country. Chichester College did a fantastic job of hosting the event and we look forward to returning next year if all goes well.”

* St Gerards are open every Tuesday and Thursday between 6pm and 8pm at the Swanfield Community Centre, Swanfield Drive, and always welcome new members aged from nine upwards.

Any other sponsors would be welcomed and the club is always looking for permanent premises. Email if you want to get involved.