Three stories from the world of Huntingdonshire boxing make up this week’s back page
St Ives’ Shona Whitwell eyes up European competition, St Neots’ Tommy Martin confirms Peterborough show, and Cambs Police club’s Ryan Adair beats Scotish ‘golden boy’ over the border.
SHONA Whitwell is England’s number one again after winning her third schoolgirl championship title in three years – but her father and coach Steve Whitwell says she will need to go to Europe in the new year because of a lack of decent opponents in the United Kingdom.
On Saturday night Fourteen-year-old Whitwell beat Brentwood ABC’s Darcy Boyle in Cannock, Staffordshire, for her latest title – and now the family are eyeing up a tournament in Sweden to aid her development.
“Shona had to move up a weight category for this fight,” said Steve Whitwell, who is the head coach at St Ives Boxing Club. “Her opponent was quite good and quite strong but she was nowhere near the standard Shona is.
“Last year two of Shona’s competitors moved up a weight so that they didn’t have to face her – so this year she only had the one fight to win the title.
“It was scrappy at times and a bit of a brawl but Shona wasn’t 100 per cent fit because of a recent sickness bug, so she did well.
“There is a real lack of credible opponents now and if she is going to continue developing we are going to have to look to Europe and tournaments further afield.”
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Whitwell now has a record of 12 wins in 14 fights and next season she will be old enough to box for England. Her long-term target is to box for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
“We are hoping to take her to a girls’ tournament in Sweden in January to keep her busy,” said her father.
“She doesn’t have much competition left in this country. When she turns 15 in January she will have been boxing for 10 years.”
Meanwhile, fellow St Ives ABC boxer Martin Rooney is also proving to be one of the best boxers in his weight class in the country.
On December 9, the 16-year-old was named boxer of the night when he beat West Ham’s Tom Galbraith with an unanimous decision in London.
Last Saturday Rooney was back in action, but closer to home, in March, where he beat Liam McGarraty from Doncaster Plantworks ABC, again by a unanimous decision.
He will now be one of the hot favourites at this season’s Junior ABA Championships.
TOMMY Martin, the St Neots boxer who made his winning debut as a professional in Bethnal Green last month, will be on the undercard at the Peterborough Arena in February when international masters light-heavyweight champion Cello Renda fights in the city.
Fans of the 19-year-old former St Ives ABC boxer call themselves Team Gun – Martin’s nickname is Tommy Gun – and there will be a clamour for tickets to see the exciting fighter so close to his St Neots home and former St Ives training base.
As yet, the boxer doesn’t know who he will be fighting, but Martin told The Hunts Post: “At this stage it doesn’t matter. In the next couple of years I want to be hitting Great Britain title standard – so this is part of my progression.
“It’ll be great to fight for my fans so close to home.”
Martin, who is contracted to the world famous TKO stable of boxers, will begin training for the fight on December 27 at their gym in Canning Town.
Promoter Robert Waterman, who has also confirmed popular Chatteris boxer Jordan Gill is on the bill, said: “We are putting together a value-for-money show and just hope that the public gets behind us.”
CAMBS Boxing Club coach Mick Taylor says he will be entering three of his boxers – Ryan Adair, Scott Allan and Ashley Linnett – into the National Schoolboys Championships in January.
Adair went to Glasgow at the weekend and beat Scottish boxing’s ‘golden boy’ Jonlee Joyce with a majority verdict going his way at the 14-year-old international’s own Durie club.
Adair, 15, told his coach Taylor, his opponent’s body shots were the hardest punches he had ever had to withstand, but the Huntingdonshire boxer was cool and calm and frustrated Joyce who began to panic in the third round.
Previous to this fight, the Scottish boxer had won all but three of his 21 bouts.
Taylor told The Hunts Post: “It was like the boxer versus the aggressive fighter – and the boxer won through. It was the top contest at the show.
“I have no doubt that they didn’t expect their lad to be beaten on home turf.
“It was a majority decision in the end and I don’t think that’s a bad decision in Scotland.
“This is another step up for Ryan and with his coaches Bradley Bartram and Gordan Grant in his corner he is really going places.”
Adair’s Cambs Police teammates Allan and Linnett were both in action at Attleborough in Norfolk the previous weekend, with14-year-old Allan boxing well but losing to Charlie Webb from the All Comers club of Liverpool.
Linnett, however, made it two wins on the trot when he beat Kieran Lancaster with his south paw style doing the majority of the damage.
“It was fairly close for Scott,” said Taylor. “Ashley picked up where he left off. He has found his form.
“We will be entering them both for the Schoolboys in January along with Ryan and maybe one more.”