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Thames Valley boxers pull no punches as local lads impress at annual dinner show





Thames Valley Amateur Boxing Club held their annual dinner show at Newbury Racecourse on Friday night.

Thames Valley's Toby Smith opened the show with the first of two skills bouts, taking on Aylesbury's Sid Essex. Being the shorter fighter, Smith had to work hard to get in and out and land shots on his taller opponent, who used his longer reach well to keep the Thames Valley man at bay. Both fighters benefitted from the workout and a chance to show off their skills.

Omar Sheikh celebrates his victory at Thames Valley’s annual dinner show. Pictures by Phil Cannings
Omar Sheikh celebrates his victory at Thames Valley’s annual dinner show. Pictures by Phil Cannings
Toby Smith takes on Aylesbury’s Sid Essex
Toby Smith takes on Aylesbury’s Sid Essex

Archie Williams took on Abingdon's Eddie Heaney, with both boxers impressing in their first skills bouts in what proved to be a very entertaining contest. The two fighters each showed considerable skill, with Williams using his height advantage to good effect.

Archie Williams and Edward Heaney exchange blows
Archie Williams and Edward Heaney exchange blows

The first competitive bout of the night was a schoolboys contest between Thames Valley's Rocky Goldby and Baker Street's Ethan Gaulder. The pair both impressed, with Goldby in general the sharper of the two boxers as he caught his opponent with some smart left and right combinations, managing to keep Gaulder at range. On the occasions when the two fighters did come together at close quarters, the bout tended to become far more untidy. As it was, Goldby ran out as winner by a majority decision.

Rocky Goldby connects with a left hand on Baker Street’s Ethan Gaulder
Rocky Goldby connects with a left hand on Baker Street’s Ethan Gaulder
Rocky Goldby uses his height advantage as he gets the better of Ethan Gaulder
Rocky Goldby uses his height advantage as he gets the better of Ethan Gaulder
Rocky Goldby lands a glancing shot on Ethan Gaulder
Rocky Goldby lands a glancing shot on Ethan Gaulder

Thames Valley's Bailey Rackham produced an assured performance as he faced off against Southampton Golden Ring's Charlie Kater. In another entertaining contest, Rackham managed to keep his opponent at arm's length with a number of well-judged combinations. Landing the cleaner punches and looking the more comfortable throughout, Rackham used different angles in the latter stages to catch Kater with some excellent shots. The Thames Valley man was declared winner by a unanimous decision.

Thames Valley’s Bailey Rackham takes on Southampton Golden Ring’s Charlie Kater
Thames Valley’s Bailey Rackham takes on Southampton Golden Ring’s Charlie Kater
Bailey Rackham catches Charlie Kater with a powerful right hand
Bailey Rackham catches Charlie Kater with a powerful right hand
Bailey Rackham lands a left-handed jab
Bailey Rackham lands a left-handed jab
Bailey Rackham makes full use of his reach as he lands a left hand
Bailey Rackham makes full use of his reach as he lands a left hand

Jimmy-Dean Smith went head-to-head with Seani-Ray Martin of Kings, Cheltenham, in an explosive bout. Smith made good use of his natural height and reach advantage and managed to dominate much of the contest with his jab, forcing his opponent back with several good right hands. The fight got a little untidy when the pair got in close, but Smith's generally cleaner display earned him victory via a unanimous decision.

Jimmy-Dean Smith receives a right hand from Seani-Ray Martin
Jimmy-Dean Smith receives a right hand from Seani-Ray Martin
Jimmy-Dean Smith and Seani-Ray Martin exchange blows in close
Jimmy-Dean Smith and Seani-Ray Martin exchange blows in close
Jimmy-Dean Smith connects with a right hand
Jimmy-Dean Smith connects with a right hand

The first of the junior bouts saw Eddie Frankham taking on Banbury's Johnny Taylor. Both boxers traded blows in the first round, with Frankham caught on a number of occasions by his taller opponent. Frankham responded well in the second round, moving round the ring to avoid most of Taylor's punches until he was caught by a good right hand that forced him to take a standing eight count. Despite his willingness to continue, the referee waved the contest off and the Banbury man was declared the winner.

Eddie Frankham takes on Banbury’s Johnny Taylor
Eddie Frankham takes on Banbury’s Johnny Taylor
Eddie Frankham looks to make use of his jab
Eddie Frankham looks to make use of his jab

Jake Tillen took on Thomas Jones, of Lions, Birmingham, in the one and only youth bout of the evening. In a lively opening round, Tillen made good use of his jab as well as some sharp combinations, while Jones responded with some committed counter-punching. Tillen started the second round with some good shots to the head and body, with his opponent incurring a warning for holding on as he sought to stifle the Thames Valley man's momentum. The fight continued at a frenetic pace and Tillen was given a warning of his own, while both boxers were warned for low heads as the pair began to tire in the final round. The judges awarded Jones the victory via a unanimous decision.

Jake Tillen faces off against Thomas Jones, of Birmingham’s Lions Boxing Club
Jake Tillen faces off against Thomas Jones, of Birmingham’s Lions Boxing Club
Thomas Jones catches Jake Tillen
Thomas Jones catches Jake Tillen

Archie Gifford faced off with Baker Street's Cody Grant, of Gloucester, in the first of the much-anticipated senior bouts. With both boys having their first fights, Gifford made a good start and used his reach to keep Grant at a safe distance. Grant came back into the bout in the second round, using his overhand right to good effect as both men traded blows. Grant's aggression helped him shade the final round, and the Gloucester man was declared the winner by a split decision following an excellent fight from both boxers.

Archie Gifford put in a courageous display against Baker Street’s Cody Grant
Archie Gifford put in a courageous display against Baker Street’s Cody Grant
Cody Grant just got the better of Thames Valley’s Archie Gifford
Cody Grant just got the better of Thames Valley’s Archie Gifford

Omar Sheikh produced a typically colorful display against IG Boxing's Nathaniel Brown. Sheikh had to adjust to the London-based fighter's southpaw stance but defended himself well before responding with a flurry of punches to end the first round. Sheikh switched to southpaw in an attempt to counter Brown's threat in the second round, forcing him onto the back foot before the London man was given a warning for ducking. Sheikh produced a fluent final round, while Brown was given another warning, as the Thames Valley man emerged as the victor via a unanimous decision.

Omar Sheikh switched to southpaw to match rival Nathaniel Brown
Omar Sheikh switched to southpaw to match rival Nathaniel Brown
Omar Sheikh beat Nathaniel Brown via unanimous decision
Omar Sheikh beat Nathaniel Brown via unanimous decision
Omar Sheikh and Nathaniel Brown, boxing southpaw, trade right hands
Omar Sheikh and Nathaniel Brown, boxing southpaw, trade right hands
Omar Sheikh took on Nathaniel Brown in an entertaining fight
Omar Sheikh took on Nathaniel Brown in an entertaining fight
Omar Sheikh lands a left hand over the top
Omar Sheikh lands a left hand over the top

Two of the most experienced boxers faced off as Aaron Duncan fought Pat Benson's Josh Jones. The first round was largely tentative as Duncan took his time to work out Jones' southpaw stance. Duncan worked the body well in the second round but was caught on the side of the head by a powerful right hand right at the end of the three minutes, causing the fight to be paused while he was checked over by a doctor. Duncan tried to box on the counter in the final round and landed some good solo shots, but Jones' better use of combinations resulted in him being declared winner via a unanimous decision.

Aaron Duncan tries a left hook against opponent Josh Jones
Aaron Duncan tries a left hook against opponent Josh Jones
Aaron Duncan lands a glancing right hand on Josh Jones
Aaron Duncan lands a glancing right hand on Josh Jones

Paolo Marino took on High Wycombe's James Hickens in the final fight of the night. Marino came in over the weight and as such had to spend half-an-hour skipping prior to the bout in order to come closer to the weight so that the fight could go ahead. Nevertheless, Marino made a superb start and looked in control throughout the opening round. However, Hickens caught his opponent towards the end of the second round, stunning Marino and causing his gum shield to fly out of his mouth before the referee stopped the contest.

Paolo Marino jabs with his left as he takes on High Wycombe’s James Hickens
Paolo Marino jabs with his left as he takes on High Wycombe’s James Hickens
Paolo Marino made a bright start to the fight, despite having to skip for 30 minutes beforehand
Paolo Marino made a bright start to the fight, despite having to skip for 30 minutes beforehand

There were a number of awards presented to the boxers at the end of the night.

The Mick Sutton trophy for the best junior fight of the night was awarded to Bailey Rackham, the Johnny Bremner award for heart and courage went to Archie Gifford and the Berkshire Youth fight of the night prize was given to Omar Sheikh.

Paul Cooke and the team would like to place on record their thanks to all the fight sponsors, including M. W. Sutton Roofing, T.S.H Skips, Shake Disco, Berkshire Youth, GreensH2O, OPUS Tree and Garden Services, Greenwood Garage Services, R&E Roofing and Property Services, DRS Building Solutions and T.Mather Tree Services.



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