Big night for Lochaber Phoenix boxers

Siobhan Duncan faces up to her opponent, Caitlin Kelly from Antonine. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

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Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club held their second Home Show since Covid restrictions were eased, attracting a sell-out crowd to Fort Williams Nevis Centre on Saturday night.

Home Shows give the club’s boxers the chance to show their skills and talents to a
local audience while taking on opponents from across Scotland who have been matched to them based on age, weight, skill and ring experience.

The home-side fighters featured in 11 of the 14 bouts staged, with four of the local lads making their debut in the ring after months, if not years of training in the club’s gym at Corpach.

First debutant was 13-year-old Connor Bodkin, who took on Kian Tennant from Insch in an 83kg bout. Connor started with some excellent moves behind the jab and started throwing combinations to overpower his opponent. A knock down with a massive backhand not long into the first round saw the referee end the contest.

Also making his debut was Connor’s brother Anton. Both show great
commitment in travelling from Invergarry three to four nights a week for training, as well as playing rugby at weekends.

Anton had only just recovered from Covid which saw him lose 3kg. He faced
Drumchapel’s Ryan MckechNie in the 76kg. Anton showed brilliant boxing skills over all three rounds only narrowly missing out on a points decision.

Fifteen-year-old William Lamont from Strontian also puts a great deal of effort into
attending training and has worked really hard to make his ring debut against Mark
McGuigan 71kg from Cleland Miners. William started on the back foot with his opponent working tirelessly inside to spoil William’s efforts over all three rounds resulting in a narrow loss.

Callum Maclean faced Midlothian’s Ben Gibson in a 54kg bout. Callum took the first round after showing some lovely combinations but some aggressive moves from Ben saw the Lochaber boxer narrowly losing on points despite a brilliant performance.

Next up was Jamie Douglas against Billy Mckenzie from Cleland Miners at 60kg level. Jamie started behind his jab trying to throw combinations with skilful head and feet moves, but his opponent’s determined and aggressive style meant another narrow loss for the home club.

Matchmaking is always a difficult ‘black art’ and Lochaber’s Toby Jackson had to
accept a hastily arranged skills bout after his opponent pulled out. He faced Ollie
Jackson of Dundee who had much more experience and a massive weight advantage which made for a unbalanced contest. Nonetheless Toby showed great skill over the three rounds.

Final debut of the night was Ryan Cameron who took on Antonine’s Regan Stuart
at 55kg. Ryan took on really tough opponent in a back and forth bout with nice
technical boxing before narrowly losing on points.

Siobhan Duncan also lost her original opponent, so instead took on Elite Women’s
Silver Medallist Caitlin Kelly. Siobhan started slowly but came into the fight by trying to box at a distance, although Caitlin was having none of it and started to wear her down across each round to win on points.

‘Quiet man’ Noah Johnston from Caol was next up against Callum Burnett of Dundee at 60kg. Working tirelessly and keeping his opponent constantly on the back foot resulted in a unanimous win for Noah.

Experienced and dedicated for many years, Josh Dieguno met Luca Flynn from
Dundee’s Lochee club in a 58kg bout which is best described as a very evenly balanced chess match. However, Josh possibly did not do enough in the last round, which meant the win went to Lochee on points.

Top of the bill, Lee Bruce faced Jack Noble who travelled from Galashiels the day
before when Lee’s original opponent dropped out at short notice. This 82kg bout was another that did not disappoint, with both going all out in the first round before settling down in the second. Both displayed very effective and evenly matched combinations. Round three went to Lee who delivered a win on points.

The show ended with a a presentation of club trophies based on the coaches very
difficult judgement of performances throughout the year.

Best Senior boxer of the season – Siobhan Duncan
Best Junior boxer of the season – Josh Dieguno
Most improved boxer at the club this season – Toby Jackson