Neil Anderson is backing Jack Wiffen to become the first member of Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club to reach the final of the England Boxing Junior Championships for at least 35 years, writes Russell Claydon.
The recently-turned 16-year-old heads to the Magna Centre in Rotherham for Saturday’s semi-final bout with a possible under-63kg born 2002 contest for a national belt to follow at the same venue on Sunday, with a final spot giving him a shot at an England Talent place.
Wiffen saw his quarter-final opponent pull out with illness after he had weighed in on Saturday in Slough, meaning he got a bye through to the last four, to equal his achievement of last year.
Sudbury ABA head coach Anderson, said: “He wants to be a professional boxer or be around for the Olympics and he is so dedicated and determined for a 16-year-old.
“He comes to the gym five times a week and goes out running all the time. He never misses a session.
“He has got the talent and now he has to step up to the plate and take it away from them.
“He has done the hard work and it is down to how he performs on the day now.”
“He has got to the semi-finals before and the schools three years ago and lost to the eventual winner.
“To go there in the Juniors is a fair achievement for a little club like Sudbury.
“It will be our sixth semi-final in the last six years.
“Jack is the first of our boxers to make the semi-finals twice.”
Wiffen’s opponent in the last four was expected to be revealed earlier in the week, but at the time of going to press had still not been confirmed.
He could be set for a re-match with Dion Ede of St Marys, however, the NABC Champion and England Talent programme fighter was his only defeat of the season.
“He has lost to Ede twice but he was still coming back from injury the last time.”
Wiffen’s big chance comes after the news he has been accepted on to a boxing apprenticeship scheme (Advanced Apprenticeships in Sporting Excellence) to allow him to train full-time at City College Brighton & Hove next year while completing his A-levels.
“It is brilliant for him to go on that, and the head coach there is Adam Haniver, who is a Level 4 coach,” said Anderson.
The AASE scheme is part of England Boxing’s development pathway.
• Meanwhile, Sudbury’s Jake Sumner is set to fight for the Eastern Counties Middleweight Elite 75kg title in the England Boxing Senior Championships at Debenham Leisure Centre on Friday.
Sumner is due to fight Pender Smith of All-Comers Ely in the Lyons show and would progress through to the national rounds if he is successful.