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Youth ABA Boxing National Championships
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On the 12th, 13th and 14th of February 2016, The Magna centre in the steel city of Sheffield hosted the final rounds of the Youth ABA Boxing National Championships. Prior to this momentous occasion, boxers took part in regional, area and national rounds to earn their place in Sheffield.

Representing Uxbridge Amateur Boxing Club (Uxb ABC) in the event was Sian Judd in the female 57kg-60kg division. This was Judd’s first outing up at this new age and weight division and it was sure to be her biggest test to date. Although Judd has already proved herself up at the top level by claiming the title in the 2014 Junior ABA National Championships she was still by far the least experienced in the division with only 5 bouts to her name compared to the other 7 girls in the division at the quarter final stage.

After successfully making weight and passing the doctor’s examination Judd was off to refuel before her bout later that day, whilst Coach Jamie McAvoy went to the official’s room to oversee the official draw taking place. Judd was matched against Shona Whitwell from St. Ives ABC. Like Judd, Whitwell has also picked herself up National titles at School Girl and Junior Levels however has also represented England at European and World Championships. Entering these youth championships Whitwell holds a very impressive record of 21 Wins and only 7 Losses and was no doubt the favourite to win the overall title. Not only was Whitwell more experienced than Judd, she was also 2 years older, 1.6kg heavier and 5 inches taller! This was going to be a hard day at the office for Judd for sure!

As the doors opened at midday, it was nice to see just how supported this prestigious event was. There was a very busy crowd of spectators all eager and excited to see the showcase of talent. Amongst these spectators was no other than the newly crowned heavy weight champion of the world Mr Tyson Fury. No pressure!!

The first round was close with Whitwell using her reach advantage by trying to keep Judd on the end of her long straight shots. Judd was forced to take her time and try to work out a way to get on the inside and use her natural strength without taking to many shots on the way in. 

After strict instructions from coach Jamie McAvoy in between the round to step up the pace, Judd put in a big shift in round two and managed to force Whitwell on to the back foot! Although taking one or two shots on the way in, Judd was able to land her own more convincing big shots to the body and head and rough up Whitwell which she clearly didn’t like. It was evident that the only way for Judd to take the victory was to take Whitwell out of her comfort zone, so much more of the same was the order at the end of the round from the corner. “Dip under her shots, work her body and come up stairs after!”

Round three and Judd pushed forward with lots of punches like she knew she must. Unfortunately, Whitwell was able to find another gear and box on the back foot showing more variety in her punches and turning Judd as she launched her attacks. Whitwell landed a hard blow late in the round from the back hand which pushed Judd’s head back hard and forced the referee to jump in to issue a standing 8 count. As the bell sounded to end the round Judd, not hurt, just annoyed with herself came back to the corner for instructions going into the 4th and final round.

She was told to leave it all in the ring, no regrets! Go and get the knockout we knew was needed! Judd showed true heart and although exhausted put it on Whitwell for the full two minutes of the round. Whitwell knew she had the upper hand and used her experience by playing it safe, boxing on the move and not getting caught up in the fight that Judd was bringing to her.

The final bell rung and both girls were called to the centre of the ring. Unfortunately, Judd couldn’t pull of the big upset and Whitwell’s hand was raised. Although she did not win this bout, it was still a great learning fight and she now knows that she belongs at the top level!

Whitwell progressed through the Semi’s to the Finals with ease to face another strong contender Ellie Scotney from Lynn ABC. After 4 hard rounds Whitwell was able to take away the power that Scotney brings by using her range and boxing ability! Another National title for Whitwell. Congratulations!

Written by: Uxbridge ABC - 19th February 2016

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