Ringside boxers impress at highly-successful tournament

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MORE than 250 people attended Knottingley SYD Ringside Boxing Club’s first tournament of the year at Kellingley Club on Friday.

It was acclaimed as one of the club’s best shows in years.

Ringside boxers featured in five of the 12 bouts.

Ten-year-old Josh Whittaker, of Castleford, gave an outstanding display in his third skills contest against Ben Cochrane from Hull.

The ever-improving Whittaker outboxed his opponent over the three rounds.

Pontefract’s Kurt Jackson, who has bags of natural talent, competed in his fourth contest against unbeaten Cleckheaton fighter Bilal Ali.

In the opening round, Jackson threw plenty of acurate punches to the head and body to keep his opponent on the back foot.

Jackson, who visibly grew in confidence as the fight progressed, kept up the good work in the second and third rounds which he won in great style. His hand speed was too much for Ali.

It was Jackson’s third win in four fights and he is improving all the time.

Harry Free, of Eggborough, was the next SYD fighter in action.

Twelve-year-old Free, taking part in his second contest, fought Liam Hendry from Leeds.

Free came under early pressure against a skilful opponent who made a fast start but the Eggborough lad battled back magnificently.

He emerged with tremendous credit after showing great determination in the second and third rounds despite suffering an illness in the build up to the fight.

SYD Ringside’s Grant McLean competed in his 35th fight when he took on Hull’s Louis Claridge.

Claridge is from the famous St Paul’s gym, home of Olympic gold medalist and Dancing on Ice star Luke Campbell who he trains with on a regular basis.

National champion Claridge was quickly out of the blocks.

In the first round, he threw a non-stop barrage of punches in an attempt to pin down McLean.

However, McLean’s tight guard foiled Claridge and the Knottingley fighter won the first round.

It was a similar story in the next two rounds as the two boxers were rarely more than a foot apart as they both threw numerous punches, with great noise from the crowd making it like a football cup final. The verdict in a close encounter narrowly went to Claridge.

In the night’s final bout, Knottingley’s 17-year-old Popi Burton was up against two times national champion Autumn Goodwin from Derby.

Burton went into the fight in great form with 10 victories in her last 12 contests.

She recently won a silver medal in the European Championships in Sweden. She was beaten by Finland’s champion in the final.

Goodwin tried hard to contain Burton but her efforts were in vain as the local favourite took command of the fight.

Burton, who was topping the bill for the first time, boxed well to take control and then hung on towards the end to win the fight.

The award for the best SYD boxer on the night went to McLean. His opponent Claridge won the best boxer of the night accolade.

SYD Ringside thanked all who attended and the sponsors for making the show a great success. The club’s next tournamnent is in May.