Coach Whitwell is proud father after daughters’ box clever

COACH Steve Whitwell was celebrating on Saturday night after both of his daughters won their bouts at the St Ives Boxing Academy show.

It was the first time Shona Whitwell and her younger sister Harli had appeared on the same bill.

Shona again beat the three-time Irish national schoolgirl champion Ciara Ginty, and Harli picked up the St Ives club’s boxer of the night award after her win at the town’s Corn Exchange.

However, brothers Scott and Dean Pepper – the other two siblings on the card – did not have such a good evening with both of them losing their bouts on points.

The show had 13 contests, with nine involving boxers from the St Ives club. First up was Harli, 11, who earned a unanimous verdict over 12-year-old Milli Hansen from Grimsby. Her father said: “Although Harli started a little slowly in the first round, which she lost because she was being too negative, she won the second with some sharper counter punching.

“She had a really good third round and landed quite a few unanswered punches.”

Next up was Dean Pepper, also 11, who lost to Patrick Hanrahan from King’s Heath.

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Then 14-year-old two-time national schoolgirl champion Shona Whitwell beat Ginty of the Ginseela club for a second time in their second meeting.

Steve Whitwell said: “Shona used her height and reach to full advantage throughout the contest and although Ginty is probably her best opponent to date she never looked like losing and won a comfortable unanimous decision.”

Scott Pepper, 14, was unfortunate to lose to Thomas Pogson from Boston after giving away points in the first round but having a steadier second. His strong third round was not enough to swing the bout though.

Fifteen-year-old rising star Martin Rooney had another excellent win, this time against Gerald Naziri from Newham Boys, with a unanimous decision.

Naziri was a last-minute change of opponent for Rooney and although he gave away a bit too much weight and got involved in a scrap, the St Ives boxer always looked in control and showed off some slick boxing at the ropes.

After the interval it was the turn of the seniors and they did not disappoint the crowded house with four wins from four bouts. Middleweight Sam Barron, 22, had his first three-minute round fight against Marc Osbourne from Finchley and was possibly fortunate to gain a split-points decision. Then welterweight Ryan Robinson, 18, boxed Lee Divine from Times ABC and made it four wins from four with another strong performance and a unanimous decision.

“He did get involved a bit too much on the inside when he should have been boxing more,” said Whitwell. “But he was far too strong and landed several good combinations with Divine against the ropes and he looked like stopping the lad at times.”

Super-heavyweight Tersoo Sugden, 26, had a return match against Yui Jasharay, also from the Times club, and repeated his success in an untidy match.

Both boxers spoiled and made it hard to score but Sugden had a good last round to snatch another win.

Top of the bill was 37-year-old super-heavyweight newcomer and masters boxer Christian Wians. He was having his first bout against Eddis Mutakas from Wisbech who had won his previous bout by a first-round knock-out.

However, it was the American Wians who showed some good boxing and fitness against the wild attacks of Mutakas to get a unanimous decision.

Whitwell said: “Wians could have possibly got a stoppage victory if he had landed a bit cleaner.

“Ryan Robinson is our hottest young �prospect and I expect big things from him.

“The new ones coming through are �probably going to be just as good as our �current ranked boxers.”