The future looks bright for young St Ives Boxing Club fighter Bradley Smith

12:08 26 March 2014

Bradley Smith takes a punch on the chin from Levi Chandler at the St Ives clubs show at the Corn Exchange on Saturday.

Bradley Smith takes a punch on the chin from Levi Chandler at the St Ives clubs show at the Corn Exchange on Saturday.

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Bradley Smith once again proved he has a big future in boxing when the 16-year-old stepped up a weight at the Corn Exchange on Saturday and beat Levi Chandler from Coventry.

The St Ives Boxing Club fighter was one of the star attractions at the nine-bout show and head coach Steve Whitwell was impressed with the teenager’s display against an opponent who has reached national semi-finals.

“I found it very hard to split them over the first two rounds although Smith was being more aggressive,” said Whitwell. “This is a style that Bradley is trying to get more comfortable with, being a natural counter puncher.

“Both boxers landed good shots and it was boxed at a very good pace. After the second, needing a big finish, Smith was instructed to go all out in the last round.

“He did this quite well and forced the pace although Chandler showed some great boxing to match him all the way. The big last round swung the bout in Smith’s direction and gave him the decision – to the delight of the crowd.

“Bradley is really improving with every bout and now he is starting to get his strength up I firmly believe he will be the one to beat once we get to senior level.”

It was the boxer’s first fight in the 60kg division and his popularity was such that the majority of tickets sold were because he was on the bill. One of those watching the youngster was St Neots professional Tommy Martin, who is a former member of the club. Martin, 20, who is preparing for his first British Masters title challenge next month, later tweeted: “Quality mature performance from Bradley Smith last night. Loved the head movement.”

The evening began with two skills bouts for young boxers Harry Haynes, 12, and Hope Price, 11, before Abbas Shahid made his debut for St Ives beating James Biddle from Kingsthorpe.

Nik Tujev also made his debut and although the 15-year-old fought well, a recent back injury had left him short on fitness and the decision went to Raja Khan from Lewsey.

Another debut was from 16-year-old Jack Smith, who won his bout against Raied Nasser from the Sheffield Lane club. Matt Cable, 36, was involved in one of the best fights on the night, against Northampton’s Craig Apps. It was close but the decision went to the visitor.

Mohammed Hassan, 21, fought Jitten Ravel from St Albans and was doing well until he tired in the last round. But the boxer held out and took the win on the judges’ decision.

The final fight was between 28-year-old Aaron Francis and visitor Dan Bowden. It wasn’t the best end to the night with Francis suffering a knockdown in the first round and his coach throwing in the towel.

“We showed some quality boxing from our squad,” said Whitwell. “We pride ourselves on teaching the art of boxing and sportsmanship and I think we showed both.”

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