The much-heralded Arsenal are due at Valley Parade shortly but it will take a mightily impressive performance to upstage the splendour of Eastburn Amateur Boxing Club’s function suite.
Eleven cracking bouts, a lively, appreciative audience and plenty of Eastburn success for good measure last Friday.
Not all the Eastburn boxers are locally-based but all train regularly at the gym and their quartet of winners – all on points – comprised Zain Mahmood against Bradley Dexter of Raging Bull ABC, Bradford; Joe Garside against Hakeem Nasser of Sheffield Lane Top ABC; Arron Jalil against Akram Obaid of Sheffield Lane Top, and Mitchell Lisle against Arran Calvert of Bradford’s Karmand Centre.
One of Eastburn’s most experienced boxers, light middleweight Rob Adamson, finished on the wrong end of a points decision against Bacup’s Nick Perry but the sublime quality of the Lancastrian’s performance – albeit being well bloodied at the finish as testimony to Adamson’s solid jabbing – also earned him the tournament’s outstanding boxer award.
Many supporters had homed in from up the Aire Valley to cheer on the hitherto unbeaten boxers with strong Skipton connections.
Both lads, though conceding chunks in height and weight, found the order on this occasion just a bit too tall, and both slipped to their first defeats which, on the credit side, should at least help them manage a few more contests due to some trainers tending to fight a bit wary of pitching in their boxers against opponents with unbeaten records.
Sporting the colours of Keighley Amateur Boxing Club, Josh Swift – a Bradley lad but a familiar figure helping out in his parents’ Skipton fish and chip shop – was not too swift out of the blocks on this occasion as he initially struggled to find a way past the raking counter-punching of Bradford’s willowy Raheel Mohammed.
However, as the contest progressed the Bradley battler scored, particularly with some solid body shots and uppercuts and he certainly reddened his opponent’s features before the final bell.
Indeed, in the closing stages, Swift was very much in the ascendancy and had there been another round he might well have shaded it.
The other local boxer, Josh Holmes – an Earby lad who works in Skipton as a motor mechanic – was faced with an even bigger size differential in the talented form of Oliver Robinson.
Holmes, who boxes for Eastburn, nonetheless played his part in one of the best contests of the night.
He hardly took a backward step and scored with some splendid lunging left jabs but the cagey Cleckheaton boxer – making the most of his size advantage – just managed to produce the more effective handywork.