After coming so close to landing a national junior title, Neil Anderson is confident Jack Wiffen has all the attributes to go on to achieve his dream of becoming a professional boxer.
The 16-year-old became the first Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club member to make the England Boxing Junior Championships final during head coach Anderson’s 35-year association with the club — and maybe even the first ever.
After taking the first round against NABC champion Dion Ede, of St Marys, in their 60-63kg category at the Magna Centre in Rotherham on Sunday, customers at a number of premises across Sudbury were glued to the live internet stream of Sunday’s fight.
But although he had the England boxer, the only person the Thomas Gainsborough School pupil has lost to this season, clearly rattled, he ended up narrowly losing out over the following two rounds.
The belt may not be Wiffen’s, but the fighter who lives just outside Sudbury, near Henny, will now get the chance to undergo an assessment for the England Talent programme, which could then properly launch his dream career.
‘Pride’ was the main emotion Anderson was left to reflect on.
“He did not look out of place,” he said.
“It was so close, a few punches in the second round would have changed it.
“He was absolutely gutted afterwards but I am just so proud of him.”
With Wiffen, who has just been accepted on to a boxing apprenticeship scheme at City College Brighton & Hove that will allow him to train full-time next season, harbouring hopes of going professional in the sport or featuring in the Olympics, Anderson has no doubt those aims are within his grasp.
“There is no reason why he cannot, if he sticks at it,” he said.
“I think he has a good future. He is so dedicated and going on that apprenticeship scheme is the right place to be.
“He has got a lovely little style and good balance.
“He punches really hard and he has got a will (to win).”
Wiffen’s final spot arose after defeating Bridlington’s Jack Marshall, the Yorkshire champion, in Saturday’s last four encounter to ensure he went one step further than last year.
The Sudbury star, who will move up to the Youth Championships next year, is set to fight on the club’s next home show, on Saturday, May 26 at Sudbury Rugby Club and is also targeting the Hull Box Cup in June ahead of the NABCs in October.
• Over at Debenham Leisure Centre, on Eastgate’s Lions Dinner Show, Jake Sumner’s opponent failed to make the weight in their Eastern Counties Elite final, meaning the middleweight (75kg) fighter receives a bye into the National Elite Championships on April 20.