England's boxers win Hereford Times Cup after 7-3 victory over Wales in full international at Hereford Sixth Form College

First published in Sport
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Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

HEREFORD’S knockout amateur boxing international is to become an annual fixture in England’s calendar, organiser Vince McNally has confirmed.

England coach Alan Keast described Saturday’s sell-out St David’s Day International show at Hereford Sixth Form College as the best amateur boxing event he’d been to in the city.

And Mark Abberley, chief executive of England Boxing, was delighted to return to his Herefordshire roots and showcase boxers who could be featuring at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Around 480 people packed into the sports hall at Hereford Sixth Form College to watch England’s boxers seal a 7-3 win over rivals Wales and clinch the Hereford Times Cup.

McNally organised the full international with fellow Hereford coach Richard Roberts and has been presented with a boxing vest signed by the England and Wales teams.

McNally said: “It was the biggest crowd we have ever had for an amateur show we’ve done and the level of boxing was fantastic. We had 34 tables and I think we could have sold another 25 tables.

“The GB coaches were taking notes with the Commonwealth Games coming up and the Rio Olympics in 2016 and there were boxers from both teams have potential to go all the way.

“There has been a lot of interest because the show has gone so well and we would like to work with Welsh Amateur Boxing and England Boxing to put on another event.

“It looks like the international will become a permanent fixture in the England calendar and we can’t any better plaudits than that.”

Birtley Boys’ Luke McCormack collected the overall trophy on behalf of the England team after 10 hard-fought contests, including five youth bouts, a women’s elite contest and four elite matches.

McCormack, from the north-east, had recorded a unanimous win over Wales’ Joshua John and was awarded the inaugural Jim Smith Memorial Cup for being the evening’s best boxer.

And heavyweights Greg Bridet, from England, and Wales’ Kody Davies were presented with trophies, by Hereford Muay Thai’s Garry Jones, for being involved in the best bout of the night.

Davies, from Blackwood, was edged out by a point by Bridget in an excellent contest which brought the evening to a close.

England coach Keast said: “Luke McCormack did a great job and he certainly deserved the boxer of the night award Greg Bridget also put in a great performance to finish off the evening.

“I think this was the best show so far and we had some big names and I am sure people will see these names featuring in the future.”

Abberley, chief executive of England Boxing, said: “It’s been brilliant to be able to bring the quality of boxing to Hereford. It is international boxing class with our Olympic boxers boxing.

“I think England deserved to win. We brought down a strong team of our Olympic boxers and everybody has boxed well and enjoyed it.

“Vince McNally and Richard Roberts, who do the organising, are fantastic lads and, without them, we would not have been in Hereford.”

England made a blistering start to the show, racing into a 3-0 advantage, before Wales duo Joseph Egan and Sonny Lee triumphed to cut the match deficit to just one.

England’s Sandy Ryan secured a unanimous win over Charlene Jones in an entertaining women’s bout before McComark’s victory gave the hosts an unassailable 5-2 lead.

Event organiser Roberts said: ““Luke is a very outstanding boxer who is involved in the Olympic camp. When Vince and I went up to Sheffield for an Olympic camp we saw him there.”

Earlier, the West Midlands Fire Service Pipe Band helped with the ring parade and Adam Gilbert, a former student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, delivered the national anthems.

Herefordshire singer Natalie Hall also took to the ring to entertain the audience before the boxing got underway.

Organiser Roberts’ daughter, Rhiannon, carried the Welsh flag into the ring and was one of the ring girls for the show, which was also organised by the City of Hereford Rotary Club and raised money for the muscular dystrophy charity, Action Duchenne.

Roberts said: “It was the first time we have seen elite boxers fight without headguards in Hereford since the change of international rules and the feedback from the crowd has been great.

“I am a very proud Welshman but I was delighted with the standard of boxing and the Welsh boxers boxed very well.

“It has really put Hereford on the map for Olympic and amateur boxing.”

To watch interviews and boxing action from the show, go to: herefordtimes.com/video

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