Sudbury boxer Jake Sumner went toe-to-toe with a reigning national champion in the quarter-finals of the ABAE Schools Championships.
Drawn against Francie Doherty of the Hoddeston Boxing Academy — an England international and Amateur Boxing Association of England Schools Championship and Schoolboy GB Three Nations champion for the last two years — a win was always going to be a tall order for the Sudbury teenager in Harlow.
But despite judges awarding Doherty a unanimous verdict, Sumner won accolades for his classy performance.
Neil Anderson, head coach at Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club, said: “This was by far and away Jake’s best performance and most challenging opponent and only bodes well for the future.”
The Eastern Counties versus Home Counties, class 3, born 1998, under-46kg bout got off to a cagey start and nothing clean was landed for the first minute and a half as both boys tried to find openings.
As the boys began to warm up, the first round ended evenly with Sumner boxing perfectly and matching Doherty.
The extra skill and speed of the Home Counties fighter was evident in the second round as things opened up, but Sumner was still right with him.
It was in the third round that Doherty had his first real success, landing three or four clean shots without reply.
As he pulled ahead, Sumner was making him work all the way and was still having his own success.
After the bout Sumner said: “He was so good, so fast and so hard to catch, but I have learnt so much and know where I need to improve.”