Five National FinalistsThe Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy (H.O.P) was celebrating this weekend after 2 of the 4 ran out Gold medalist and two Silver medalists after an afternoon of non stop action at the ABAE Female National Championships 2012 in Cannock, Midlands.

Disappointment was felt for H.O.P’s last years ABA National Champion, Tilly Evans (Priory School) as her opponent pulled out the day before the event. Meaning she could not compete in this year’s event.

First H.O.P boxer to enter the ring was Cody Byrnes (St Edmunds School) in the Class 1 Category at 40kg against Millie O’Neil (Hull Saints ABC). Byrnes opened the round behind her long left jab, keeping her shorter opponent at bay, by using her reach to her advantage. The pace increased as the round went on, finishing with an even first round. In the second round both boxers came out blasting a solid rear hand cross caught Byrne’s on the chin, even though she recovered well, another clean punch saw the referee stopping the bout in favor of her opponent O’Neill.

Ebonie JonesSecond H.O.P Boxer boxer and last years National Champion Ebonie Jones faced the hugely respected Emma Dolan from Attleboorough ABC in the class 2 (Open Category) at 48kg. Emma Dolan a previous ABA National Champion and Gold Medalist in last years Golden Girl Tournament in Sweden. Jones set the pace from the start not allowing her taller and more experience opponent get the chance to use her reach and height advantage. From the opening bell Jones dominated, landing the cleaner scoring blows early on in the round as her opponent was warned on a couple of occasions for holding on at close range as Jones tried to work in the inside. Jones non stop aggressive attack began to take its toll even at the end of the first round, the second round was more even as Dolan tried to press home an advantage and Jones countered the attacks. In the last round Jones upped the pace and increased the tempo, Dolan used all her experience as both boxers upped the pace; it was a thrilling contest with both boxers giving there best. Jones won the title on a point’s decision of the judges.

Last years ABA Female Champion Jo Barrat took on the well seasoned Nina Bradley (Boston ABC), both boxers came out at a blistering pace, throwing and landing with lots of punches, Barrat doing well as she used her footwork and boxing skill to keep ahead of the contest on points as the round went on, but, disaster struck to the end of the round when heavy body punch took the wind out of Barrats sails, then she was caught again with a good rear hand to the chin, which saw the referee stop the contest in favor of Bradley (Boston ABC)

Mondana FardNational Champion Mondana Fard with coaches Q Shillingford and Colin WilliamsLast H.O.P Boxer to enter the ring for the club was last years ABA National Finalist Mondana Fard in the Class B category (Under 10 bouts) division at 67 kg. Fard’s non stop relentless attacks took its toll on Gemma Smith (Derby City ABC) as she ploughed forward throwing combination after combination to ensure her National title win, both boxers were exhausted after the bout which proved to be very physical and entertaining. Fard took the title on a point’s win of the judges.

H.O.P Boss “Q” Shillingford said: The whole team did a great job, all the boxers gave it everything and the club is proud of every one of them.

I am very disappointed for Tilly Evans who has trained all season for this event and unfortunately was unable to box. Cody Brynes is a very strong willed and determined athlete and she will come strong again. Ebonie Jones has just cemented her number one spot in the country at Open Class Level. Mondana Fard has reached her goal that she set 4 yrs ago, to win a national title. Joe Barrat, can go along way in boxing, she was unfortunate to be caught with a body shot early in the bout. As she was doing very well up until that point.

“Q” added this was a great event Portsmouth, Hampshire and the South of England, as the South showed its strength in the North in amateur boxing.

Portsmouth was also represented by Beth Bowden (Gloves ABC) who put in a fine performance and lost by a very narrow margin. As did Ted Harris Boxing Academy’s Shanay Bennet put in a determined performance against Millicent Hansen (Grimsby ABC) losing on points on a bout that could of gone either way. Portsmouth ABC Charlie Southam was up against height, reach and experience in her bout, and gave everything, again losing on a point’s decision of the judges. This was a great weekend for Portsmouth boxing, showing the nation that boxing is very prominent in the area.

H.O.P Select v Home Counties Select

Five H.O.P Boxers were also in action on Saturday 15th as the new team match between, Home Counties and H.O.P Select got out of the blocks. H.O.P’s Owen Bradford put on a cracking skills bout to start the show havin his first experience in the ring.

Local talented duo Duane Foster and Joe Hunt found himself on the wrong side of two close decisions which could have gone either way. H.O.P debutant Sam Seal put in a fine performance by winning on a points decision after a very good first time performance also a back to form Eric Nwango took less than 30 seconds to KO his opponent in the first round. The Home Counties will be coming to Portsmouth on Friday 25th January 2013 for a return team match against H.O.P Select at Charter Academy Sports centre.

“Q” added “These young people are a shinning example of what can be done if you put your mind to it.”