Junior ABA National Championships - Quarter finalist Ben Bendle (H.O.P)The Junior ABA National Championship moved up another level as regional champions took on Regional Champions in a pre quarter final. Eastern Counties boxed Southern Counties on Saturday 21st April in Camberley. However, before the Regional matches started, a Southern counties final was boxed between Lucas Ballingall (Portsmouth ABC) and George Stead (Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy). Both boxer’s gave there all, it was an all action three rounds, neither boxer letting up; Ballingall got the decision on a unanimous decision of the judges.

Next H.O.P Boxer in the ring was Ben Bendle, Disaster struck early in the first round when Bendle went over on his ankle (old running injury). Even though Bendle was in pain, he put in a superb three rounds of boxing. Bendle had to use his fast hand speed and upper body movement. as he faced an experienced and awkward opponent in Charlie Warr (Southend ABC). Bendle blocked the long and rangy Warr’s punches and then came back with his, own, accurate and well timed punches. Bendle is now through to the National Junior ABA quarter finals on Saturday 28th April 2012 again in Camberley as the East join the South to take on London ABA in a bid to reach the JABA Semi Final stage of this years National Championships.

H.O.P’s Southern Counties Lightweight Champion Harley Hodgetts put in a brave performance as he took on the talented and former national champion Jordan Gill. Hodgetts had it all against him going into the pre quarter final, but he used the ring and all his skills at long range boxing to put in a performance of a lifetime, against a well seasoned and established boxer. Hodgetts rose to the occasion and established himself as one for the future in the sport of amateur boxing.

A major disappointment for CYP National Champion Mateusz Ziolowski, as he went out of this years JABA Championships to Sam Malone (Rayleigh ABC) on a majority points defeat. The H.O.P camp was not happy with the decision, as they felt their man had done enough, as was the feeling within the crowd.

H.O.P Boss “Q” Shillingford said “All the boxers performed great”.

George Stead was always up against it, Lucas Ballingall is a very talented kid, Stead will come again, he had boxed twice to get to the Southern Counties Final with two wins. Stead is improving all the time, another talent to work with.

Harley Hodgetts has moved to the next level, he proved to everyone he can mix it with the best in the country, Jordan Gill has beaten a lot of top boxers, and Hodgetts proved he is at that level; we will now work with him to put him at the same level.

I feel for Mateusz Ziolowski, he is a true warrior, he lives, eats and breaths boxing, and I know he is hurting about the decision. But Ziolowski will come again, he is having a great season, and it is still not over. Let’s not forget this young man is national level on only his 11th bout. Mateusz Ziolowski is a force to be reckoned with and a very exciting prospect for the future of the sport.

Ben Bendle is another exciting boxing talent within the club and can go all the way in this year JABA Championship, we face London ABA next Saturday; Bendle will be ready.