The year 2012 was an outstanding one not only for British sport but also for Ilkeston’s Trinity Boxing Club.
With inspiring moments in so many different sporting spheres it was good for the sport of boxing to be among the leading headline makers nationally and locally.
The year ended on a high for Trinity when super heavyweight Jake Harrison, 22, was crowned national champion after an outstanding run that saw him beat some of the country’s best convincingly to maintain an unbeaten record for the entire year.
At the other end of the scale, two of Trinity’s schoolboy stars, Lewis Doyle and Jordan Lewis, both 15, gave the club a double boost in January when both won Derbyshire ABA schoolboy titles, Doyle going on to the Midland counties semi-final and Lewis all the way to the Midland final.
Haydon Clarke, 16, also made it to the Midland Counties final in the junior ABA championships, beating a former champion en route.
The big test was about to come for Trinity’s entries into the senior ABA Championships when both were paired with nationally-ranked boxers in the Midland counties finals .
Jamie Williams, 21, was in at flyweight and took British number five Raza Hamza of Birmingham to a tight points decision, rewarded later when being given his own national ranking of seven on the back of this performance.
Heavyweight star and club captain Russ Henshaw, 28, faced former national champion and number three-ranked Simon Barclay of Corby, and despite Henshaw taking an early lead his opponent stayed in the fight and was fortunate to take the close points decision, eventually becoming national champion with Henshaw moving to number eight in the rankings.
In March, Trinity promoted their first tournament of the new year and Jamie Williams moved up a weight to take the Derbyshire ABA bantamweight challenge belt from holder Connor Blackshaw.
Middleweight pair Kyle Hughes, 21, and Zak Smedley, 19, were both gaining a big reputation and would feature prominently when Derbyshire ABA announced their end of season awards list, Trinity claiming five of the 12 major awards presented.
Recently-appointed county captain Russ Henshaw was named outstanding boxer while Haydon Clarke was named outstanding junior boxer . Zak Smedley was voted best boxer in his first season and Kyle Hughes picked up the award for most sporting boxer.
In September the club was to receive a massive shock when its president Len Wilkinson passed away, having been a member at Trinity for more than 15 years.
The club’s first promotion of the new season in November at Pride Park gave the boxers, coaches and amateur boxing followers an opportunity to pay a final tribute to Len’s memory.
The sold out event not only provided great entertainment at this new venue for the club but also some outstanding performances from the club’s boxers who took eight wins from the 11 bouts. This run also started a run of 13 undefeated bouts for the club.
Jake Harrison was well into his championship campaign and many of the club’s newer prospects were starting to emerge and all were buoyed when Russ Henshaw received the call to represent his country against the Australian national team.
The year’s hard work was proving fruitful and the continued improvement kept the winning run going. Loui Hemstock, 13, remains unbeaten this season and new junior talent Josh Tomlin, 15, is looking very exciting, winning his last two bouts in impressive fashion.
Also promising much are juniors John Langley and Archie Chadwick , both 16.
In the senior ranks light heavyweight Jamie Chatburn remained undefeated in 2012, as is Zak Smedley after five bouts. Undefeated after two bouts each are light heavyweight Sam Bates, 19, and welterweight Sam Pattchitt, 20.
Club leader Scott Rafferty said: “This year promises much based on the preparation and experience of 2012 and for some there will be the dream of Rio in 2016, but to achieve this the hard work must continue Trinity BC is and will remain the sporting heart of our community.”