Rob Matthews ready for Senior ABA National FinalsHeart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy have moved into another gear this weekend as champions and performances begin to develop with the fast improving club. On Saturday 26th March, local hero Robbie Matthews boxed his way into the Senior ABA National Semi Finals by outpointing his opponent David Leo form Cheshunt ABC by 21 points to 4 points. Matthews nearly finished the 3×3 minutes contest in the first round when he delivered a body blow which sank the Eastern Counties Champion to the canvas for a count of 8. Robbie then used his boxing skills and power to keep the hard hitting opponent at bay and box himself to the next round of the National Championships. HOP Boss “Q” Shillingford is delighted with the progress of Matthews and said the commitment and dedication that this young man is showing to his sport, he deserves all that he achieves, and he also complimented the great work being done by Colin Williams/ Yinka Bello and the senior boxer’s coaches at the academy.

HOP Coaches – Brian Featherstone and Lee Williams took two boxers to Pinewood Star also on the same day for a boxing show. Jess Douglas put in a fine display of boxing against Pinewood Star boxer Ben Smith that was Jesse Douglas 7th win from 9 consecutive contests for HOP. HOP Hampshire and IOW Champion Duane Forster seemed very unlucky when he had a point’s decision go against him against Pinewood start hot potential Charlie Francombe. Coach Featherstone was very disappointed with the decision however added the consultation was that Duane Foster was awarded the best boxer of the show trophy for his efforts.

Junior Coach Paul Kapnisi with Junior HOP BoxersHOP Junior’s Coach Paul Kapnisi and his team then turned focus on the boxers entering the JABA National Championships on Sunday 27th March in Gillingham, Kent, which turned into a snowball of success for the academy.

Josh Pritchard (52kg) had a walkover for his Southern Counties title after his opponent had moved down to the weight category below.

Harley Hodgetts (54kg) had a walkover for his Southern Counties title as his opponent did not enter the event and failed to turn up.

Mateus Ziolowski (81kg) also had a walkover for his Southern Counties title as his opponent had moved down to the lighter weight category.

HOP’s Michael Ballingall put in a first class performance against a very experienced and creditable opponent Liam Smith from Crawley ABC. Ballingall boxed to instructions picking his shots and taking a lot of the blows on the gloves and elbows as he displayed a master class in the skills of amateur boxing. Ballingall was awarded a unanimous decision of the judges and crowned Southern Counties Lightweight Champion 2011. Next HOP boxer on was a domestic battle between HOP Sam Ellwood and the very durable Gosport ABC Harvey Blair. This bout was always going to be very close with both boxers with similar builds and similar styles. The first round finished very even, two clean punches landed by Ellwood may have put him ahead. In the second both boxers worked very hard delivery punches at a blistering pace, in the last round Blair up geared and piled on the pressure as Ellwood took most of the punches on the arms and gloves.

Coach “Q” Shillingford commented it was one of those bouts where the decision could have gone either way. Both boxers performed very well.

HOP’s Robbie Matthews and Michael Ballingall are being taken to the home of GB Boxing Camp in the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield on Wednesday 30th Match 2011 to be put through their paces and spar the countries boxing Olympians. Coach “Q” explained this will be a great experience for the pair and will be great preparations for their title bids this year.

“Q” added – The Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy is buzzing, we are having a very exciting season, which is great for the youngsters in the academy. The coaches are all very busy as more and more youngsters are keen to learn the art of amateur boxing. Many of the boxers on our 22 bout show last week were having their first experience in a competitive boxing ring and we are also working hard with our minnow’s team (5 – 9yrs) ready to develop them for the new wave of boxing coming through. Q added – The boxing in school’s programme in the city of Portsmouth is working two fold, it is introducing the youngsters to the sport of amateur boxing and giving them the confidence to walk in to a boxing gym, with some basic boxing skills, which is then getting us more competitive boxers. And lots of youngsters are also gaining national accredited certificates and medals for their efforts and most importantly of all, giving them a sense of well being and part of a team.