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It's a knockout blow for Young Warriors

Thames Valley ABC's next generation of boxers put on an action-packed display at Newbury Racecourse

Liam Headd

Reporter:

Liam Headd

It's a knockout blow for Young Warriors

THAMES VALLEY ABC’s ‘Young Warriors’ event took place at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 350 people, who were in buoyant spirits throughout the action-packed evening.

The event had a total of 11 bouts – both skilled and competitive – which featured home talent and other visiting opponents.

Head coach Paul Cooke said: “I was over the moon.

“I thought it was a great evening and every single one of the competitors gave it their all.

“My team are all proud at what was achieved throughout the evening and it was a success.”

The evening was sponsored by Billy Jury of B & B Development Berkshire and Evergreen Engineering.

As well as this, Dale Building Ltd, The Spotted Dog, Greenwood Garage Services, M W Sutton Roofing, George Fredericks Barbers, Assertive Transport Solutions, Berkshire Youth, TSH Skips, Paggies, Dave Seward and DRS Solutions all sponsored bouts.

Cooke said: “None of this would have been this much of a success if it wasn’t for those sponsoring the event.

“They allowed us to put on a great evening and I want to thank them for their help.”

He also paid tribute to his family – Janice, Chloe, Joe and Lewis Cooke – for their help throughout the night, as well as Lauren Jenkins, Nadine Duncan and Sue Tillen

The first bout of the evening saw Robert Ruggiero of Thames Valley come up against Aaron Powell of Caerau Ely boxing club in Cardiff.

It was a late change for Ruggiero, who saw his original opponent – Jacob Edling Charles – pull out, resulting in Powell and his camp making the journey east to Newbury.

It was a fairly even contest in the first round, but 11-year-old Ruggiero used the ropes to his advantage in the latter stages.

Despite a heavy hit towards the end, Ruggiero delivered a double jab and did enough in the three rounds to win on a split decision.

Ashton Duncan took to the ring in the second contest of the evening as the 11-year-old faced Mason Gronow, who was also representing the boxing club from Cardiff.

Just like Ruggiero, Duncan had to deal with a late change as Ashley Tobitt from Southampton was removed from the card.
From the first second of the bout, Duncan pounced on his opponent and cornered him early on, which startled Gronow.

After a number of early combinations, the referee stopped the contest to check on the visitor before allowing proceedings to continue.

Duncan continued with precision and power in his punches and after a spell of dominance in the second, the official ended the contest – the only stoppage of the night.

Romeo Wenman from Thames Valley proved to pack too much punch for Thomas Diamonds in his contest.

Wenman took advantage towards the end of the first round with a couple of heavy jabs after a bout that was evenly contested.
This spurred Wenman on as from the moment the second round started, the 11-year-old backed his opponent into the corner.

Despite Diamonds, from Synwell, striking with a double jab towards the conclusion of the bout, the Thames Valley fighter did enough in the early stages to win by a unanimous decision.

Harvey Stevens enjoyed double success on the night as he picked up the Mick Sutton Memorial Shield after his fight with Blake Pierce from Banbury.

Stevens was against the ropes early on, but he responded well with a fine jab towards the end of the first round.

Both fighters were moving well in the second round and Stevens was holding himself well, despite the increasing tempo from Pierce.

Stevens impressed when against the ropes and delivered consistent jabs to win the contest on a unanimous decision.



Bilal Jabberkhel made it a clean sweep for Thames Valley in the schoolboy bouts as he won his contest against Pharrell Henry from Lucky Gloves.

Jabberkhel enjoyed a strong start in round one as he delivered a strong right hook and, with a combination of light jabs, he never looked back.

The 13-year-old continued with heavy combinations in the second and forced a short stoppage as the referee checked Henry, but he was okay to carry on.

In the third and final round, Henry fought back, but Jabberkhel handled himself well and enjoyed a split-decision victory, giving Thames Valley another win on the night.

After the schoolboy bouts had finished, it was time for the youth and senior bouts, which were once again full of local boxers.

In the first of the youth bouts, Jack Thomlinson was also forced to change his mindset after a late opponent change.

The 15-year-old found out on Thursday that Jack McLoughlin from Waterside was no longer available, so Acer Smith stepped up to replace him.

Smith forced a short stoppage in the first round after some quick jabs, but Thomlinson responded well and had his opponent against the ropes.

Both fighters exchanged punches, but although Thomlinson drew blood, he couldn’t stop his man and Smith scored a unanimous decision.

Despite Thomlinson suffering a loss, he did pick up the Johnny Bremner Trophy, for showing heart and courage in his fight.



Marcus Smewing from Thames Valley gained a revenge win against Josh Crossley from Lucky Gloves.

After previously losing to Crossley, Smewing used his height and reach, forcing his opponent into the corner and delivering a number of powerful jabs.

Crossley attempted to fight back, but the Thames Valley boxer had the better connections and used his tactics well to get the win.

Ivan Benyon of Thames Valley came up against the tall Simon Hruska from Fitzpatrick’s club in his youth bout.

Benyon managed to avoid a lot of contact in the first round with some quick movement around the ring, but Hruska landed three quick jabs.

The visiting fighter forced Benyon into the corner for the majority of the second and scored with a number of blows to the face.

In the final round, Hruska continued to come at Benyon, who, despite moving around well and connecting with his opponent, suffered defeat.

Aaron Duncan performed with confidence in his contest against Morgan Bloomfield from Colchester.

From the very start, Duncan showcased plenty of aggression and with good movement around the ring, he managed to deliver some effective blows.

Towards the halfway stage, Duncan was forcing Bloomfield onto the ropes and took advantage of the extra room to take control.

In the third round, Bloomfield had Duncan in the corner, but he reversed well to get out before hitting back with a combination of punches.

The Thames Valley representative did enough throughout the contest to win by a unanimous decision.

In the final bout of the evening, Tom Soanes of Thames Valley came up against Balal Younas and both contributed to a fantastic clash.

Soanes, 24, connected well early on and had Younas on the ropes after a double hit to the face which followed an uppercut.

The contest from both was generating a lively atmosphere and Soanes, backed by a strong contingent in the crowd, took advantage of this to use the corners and find his target.

Soanes finished the contest strongly and connected with an uppercut which proved effective.

It was an impressive performance from Soanes, who won by a unanimous decision, but credit should also go to Younas from Northolt, who performed very well.

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