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Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club held their final home show of the season last Saturday in a sold-out Nevis Centre.
Almost 400 people packed into the hall in An Aird to watch 12 bouts featuring 24 boxers from all over Scotland, including eight from the host club.
Senior middleweight Dawid Jarzab topped the bill against Jamie Walker from the Jacobite club in Nairn and this bout proved worthy of its bill-topping status as the two boxers went to war in a bout which featured multiple meaty exchanges where defence wasn’t high on the agenda and the only surprise was the only knockdown which came in the final punch of the bout when Walker hit the deck from a Jarzab right hand on the bell.
The more accurate left hand jab of Dawid was probably the main reason the decision went the way of the Fort William boxer, who was making a welcome return to the ring after an amazing six-year absence and also clinched him the boxer of the night trophy.
The Lochaber club had three senior boxers making their debut on the show, the first of which was middleweight Graham Allison, who faced another boxer in Jacobite’s Duncan Cameron.
Allison showed great speed and quality footwork for someone engaging in their first bout and seemed to grow into the contest as his confidence improved with every round. Fittingly, the final bell sounded with Cameron pinned on the ropes under a barrage of punches from the Lochaber boxer which helped seal the points victory for Allison.
Light-heavyweight John MacKenzie faced Mark McKendrick of Cambusnethen, a fellow debutant, in another crowd-pleasing battle.
MacKenzie moved well in the opening round, keeping McKendrick at long range and winning the round. McKendrick, however, closed the gap in the second round which led to a fiercely contested final round which MacKenzie took due to some strong two-fisted attacks. A well deserved points win for John.
Welterweight Alasdair Greens faced another Jacobite boxer in Tam Corley. Both boxers tried to control the centre of the ring in the first round with neither really stamping their authority. Through the course of the contest each of the combatants took turns to launch two-handed assaults with varying degrees of success. This was a really evenly matched bout with Greens edging the points on the scorecards and taking home a debut win.
Welterweight Lee Bruce faced middleweight Keiron Burke of Forgewood Boxing Club in a thoroughly entertaining exhibition in which Lee showed some wonderful skills considering he was only entertaining a boxing crowd for the 10th time, superbly negating the larger Burke’s advantages in size and strength and delighting the purists.
Fifteen-year-old multi-talented Cameron Whyte clinched the young boxer of the night trophy with a typically virtuoso performance against the teak tough Robert Hewitt of Glasgow’s Southside Boxing Club.
Whyte never really moved out of first gear as he stalked the Glaswegian, showing excellent head movement and a great awareness of distance.
Producing a huge variety of punches and constantly varying the areas of attack, Whyte looked every inch the experienced international boxer he is as he soundly outpointed his opponent, gaining the young boxer of the night award and also picking up the club’s boxer of the season award.
Twelve-year-old Max Derbenovs showed enormous improvement in his battle against Forgewood’s Andrew Sneddon.
Although narrowly losing out on the scorecards, Derbenovs not only brought his customary all-action style to the bout but also a newly found appreciation of defence as he in turn blocked, used head movement and good footwork to avoid a large number of the shots coming his way.
It looks like there could be a lot of success coming his way in the future.
Ten-year-old Josh Dieguno showed why he was voted the club’s most improved boxer this season as he edged his scored skills bout against HBA’s Ruari Urquhart. Dieguno showed good adaptability in changing tactics during the contest from boxing on the back foot inviting Urquhart to attack and also pressing the action to force his Invernessian opponent backwards. A great learning contest for Josh who was surely got a big future in store.