Two 11-year-olds debutants stole the show for Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club’s head coach Neil Anderson at Sudbury Rugby Club on Saturday night.
The club’s open booking show featured 17 fights in total with boxers coming from as far away as Cornwall to take part in the evening in front of a vocal crowd numbering around 200.
A strong following for 22-year-old Richard Moroney’s debut competitive outing in the ring may have brought the house down at the end, but it was the skills on show from a much younger and lighter pair that left Anderson beaming.
Following a show which saw five home winners from nine — Nick Judge, Cameron Mateer, Cameron Aitken, Jake Sumner and Moroney all prevailing while there were defeats for Callum Hardy, Ruby East, Luke Abbott and Kie Bryan — the head coach was asked who had impreesed him the most, and replied: “Cameron Aitken. He was really good. He had a good judgement of range and little Callum Hardy, to be honest.
“I thought the two of them, for their first bout at 11 years old and 39 kilos; I would pay to watch that any day of the week. It was fantastic; proper skills and proper boxing, not just fighting.
“I know Callum Hardy lost, but that was a really good bout.
“The ones that didn’t win, it wasn’t so much that they were well beaten. They just didn’t turn up and do what they can.”
Sudbury’s Pheobe Swain, 12, had kicked off the proceedings with a skills bout against a more experienced fighter, at times showing her potential with some good reach jabs landing.
Hardy came back strong in the second and third rounds in his first competitive fight to just lose out on a split decision against Whitstable School of Boxing’s Dan Cohen.
In the next bout, Judge had the home crowd roaring as the 13-year-old, fighting at 40kg, took a unanimous decision against Centurions ABC’s Adam Bedford, with the bout having to be temporarily halted for Bedford’s bloody nose to be cleaned up.
Mateer and fellow 13-year-old Aitken were also celebrating on split decisions, the former having his Milton Keynes opponent pinned against the ropes at one stage.
After the interval, promising 15-year-old Ruby East failed to live up to expectations in her junior fight with Bodmin’s Jessica Dorson.
Home hero Sumner, 19, a semi-finalist in the England Boxing Youth Championships last year, got the home crowd howling again after defeats for Abbott and Bryon, taking a unanimous decision over S+K Boxing Academy’s Steven Shields in their middleweight contest, despite admitting he found his opponent’s awkward style tough to handle.
The curtain came down in style on a good evening of entertainment with Moroney’s thirst for a first victory at his maiden attempt clear to see as he came alive in the second round, using hooks to great effect.
Afterwards, he praised the crowd’s impact in seeing him turn the outcome of the contest on its head.
“The crowd roaring gave me an extra 50 per cent. It was the best feeling in the world,” he said.
“I have been training for a few years, but I had not taken it seriously until the last few months.”
He added: “I want to fight lower. I have lost two stone in five weeks to get to this weight. But it is not a natural weight and I have still got a bit of fat. I want to be 80kg next time.”
n A host of Sudbury boxers, including Kai Reynolds, who was ruled out of Saturday’s show with illness, are set to take part in tomorrow night’s show at Felixstowe, hosted by Suffolk Punch Boxing Club.
n For video footage of Richard Moroney’s first bout, see www.suffolkfreepress.co.uk/sport