Boxing back with a belter of a home show at Lochaber Phoenix

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Boxing was back in big way when Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club held its first Home Show in two years in a packed Caol Community Centre on Saturday, writes Iain Ferguson.

The club normally hosts two shows a year, giving boxers the chance to perform in front of a local audience, while raising the money needed to keep them operating.

Unfortunately Covid prevented these from taking place and the club’s Corpach gym was closed for an extended period, although training continued online.

When personal contact was allowed, sessions began outdoors, gradually moving back inside under strict control and with limited numbers, building up to an almost ‘normal’ schedule at present.

Covid also meant Lochaber boxers missed out on regular competitions and visits to other gyms.

But dedicated work by coaches and boxers meant Saturday’s Home Show offered an exciting action packed programme of 14 bouts, 11 of which featured Lochaber boxers.

Young members making their ring debut, Toby Jackson, Callum Maclean – exhibition bout as it was difficult to find a match for him – Jamie Douglas and Noah Johnston, appeared in the first half, all gave excellent performances showing great skill, determination and courage.

While they recorded no wins, each found their bouts a tremendous learning
curve with which to start their boxing careers.

After the interval, six Lochaber boxers appeared in succession, each stirring loud and enthusiastic support from the audience.

With two Scottish Championships under his belt, local teenager Josh Dieguno won by a split decision after an outstanding performance against a formidable opponent
from Newarthill Boxing Club in Wishaw .

He was followed in the ring by Siobhan Duncan, appearing for the club in only her second bout, working tirelessly, following instructions from the coaches at the ringside and stopping her Dundee opponent in the second of what would have been three rounds after two counts from the referee.

Former novice champion, Lee Bruce, made a return to the ring after an absence of four years having moved away from the area. Working tremendously hard throughout what was his 12th bout, against a more experienced opponent from Cambusnethan Boxing Club, Bruce dealt with everything that was thrown at him, giving a fantastic display of skill, despite the judges decision going against him.

Tall, lean and powerful, former Northern District Champion Kevin Aitchison also gave a thrilling performance of skill in attack and defence throughout his bout, losing narrowly on points.

Glenfinnan’s Farquhar MacRae was next in the ring against Glasgow Boxing Academy’s Israel Erinolua. Due to Covid, this was only MacRae’s second bout but he put in great work throughout each of the three rounds and only lost narrowly on points.

The final bout saw ‘big’ John Hutton making his ring debut and he lived up to being top of the bill, turning in an amazing performance which had the crowd on their feet for most of the bout. Definitely a debut to be proud of and a great experience for him, losing on points by the narrowest of margins.

Earlier in the year, pro boxing champion and multi-title holder Lee Selby visited Lochaber Phoenix and spent three days in the gym working with members.

He also joined the crowds in Caol and picked the ‘Boxer of the Night’ trophy which he presented to Siobhan Duncan. He also donated items of his personal boxing kit which were auctioned to raise funds.

Other awards went to Callum MacLean as Most Improved Junior Boxer, receiving the John Donnelly Trophy, presented by DMD Construction, while Farquhar MacRae took the Most Improved Senior Boxer presented by Alistair Sim of the club’s main sponsor, Caley Timber and Building Supplies.

Head coach Vince Lopez said: ‘There were some hard bouts for our boxers who gave everything with some outstanding performances on the night.

‘They all stuck with training through Covid and hopefully, with restrictions easing, we will be able to get them away to other clubs to gain experience against other boxers.

‘This has been a great learning curve for them and we are all proud of how confidently they were in stepping into the ring.

‘We will be entering all of them into the Northern Districts championship in Montrose at the end of this month.’


The Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club ‘team’ which took part in the Home Show, back row, left to right, Lee Bruce, Kevin Aitchison, Farquhar MacRae, John Hutton and Siobhan Duncan Front, left to right, Jamie Douglas, Toby Jackson, Noah Johnston, Callum MacLean and Josh Dieguno. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 01


Extra pics:

Lochaber boxer Kevin Aitchison in action against Steven Munro from Highpand Boxing Academy, Inverness. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 03

First Lochaber boxer in the ring at the home show and making his debut Toby Jackson scores in his bout against Glasgow Boxing Academy’s Adam Irfan. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F46 Boxing show 04

Noah Johnston lines up a shot on Glasgow Boxing Academy’s Tallah Khan. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 05

Josh Dieguno in action against Nathan Lundie of Newarthill Boxing Club in Motherwell. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 06

Siobhan Duncan scored an early win in her bout against Kerry MacAlpine of Lochee, Dundee. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 07

John Hutton came close to winning his debut bout against William Barlow of Auchengeich Boxing Club, Stepps. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 08

Success for Josh Dieguno as he is declared winner of his bout against Nathan Lundie of Newarthill Boxing Club. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F46 Boxing show 09