It’s heartbreak for Jake in Midlands ABA semi-final

Jake Harrison
Jake Harrison

Trinity ABC super heavweight Jake Harrison produced an heroic performance in the Midlands Counties semi-final in Birmingham but suffered a heart-breaking split decision defeat to least seson’s national finalist Ashley James.

Harrison, 21, had faced the same opponent on a Trinity tournament last season and had experienced the power of the tall 24-year-old from Worcester when going down in the opening round after some ferocious punching .

So, when the draw was made for this season’s Midland Championship semi-final, Harrison knew what to expect and was prepared both tactically and physically for what was going to be the fight of his life.

And he did not disappoint as he tried to avenge his previous defeat, but this time there was a place in the Midland final at stake.

Harrison started in a positive fashion and got his jab snapping in confidently, as the very tall Worcester man tried to keep him at range with his own strong jab and follow up with big right hands, but this time Harrison had benefited from the tactical work and kept his head and body moving as he closed down the space to land his own big punches.

After a fairly even first round Harrison grew in confidence and closed his man down landing big right hands.

James piled on the pressure but the Trinity star always seemed in control and rocked his man with big shots on the ropes.

In the third round Harrison landed several good uppercuts on the inside as the tiring James tried to hold on, for which he was warned by the referee.

In the fourth and final round Harrison showed a real purpose as all thoughts of the previous encounter disappeared and every time James landed Harrison came back stronger with big combinations.

Although James had made the better start as Harrison worked his way into the fight, it was still a surprise to many when the Worcester man had his hand raised following an intriguing battle and one that Harrison could look back on with pride and satisfaction, but James moves on to the Midland final by a 3-2 majority vote from the ringside judges.

Trinity coach Scott Rafferty said: “The whole club will be proud of this performance and I am sure Jake will be satisfied with his effort and performance.

“Although the result went the other way he will feel he has redeemed himself.

“All the coaching staff had a massive input into this preparation as well as chief sparring partner Russ Henshaw who has sparred many rounds with Jake as he prepares to defend his national title.

“I would expect Ashley James to now go on and win the national title and not have a harder fight than this one with Jake.”

Harrison will be back into action quickly as he looks to build on this performance at the Festival Inn, Trowell on Friday on what will be a quality bill featuring most of the club’s top boxers.

Club captain Russ Henshaw will lead the team out as he keeps in action before his defence of the national title.

Russ be up against Ashley Buckley of Sheffield who last season made it to the national elite ABA quarter-final.

Also on the bill will be a challenge for the Derbyshire ABA light middleweight challenge belt by Trinity’s Alex Reed, who will face South Normanton’s Danny Singleton over the Olympic distance of 3 x 3 minute rounds.

Facing tough opposition over this distance will also be flyweight Jamie Williams who challenges Newcastle’s former ABA finalist Joel Spragg.

Featuring too will be Thomas Robinson at lightweight, Marcus Creed at light middle weight and Kyle Hughes at welterweight

Debuting at welterweight and light heavyweight respectively will be Jay Robertson and Zac Smedley, while several junior stars will also be in action.

Tickets are still available priced at £15 for adults and £5 for under 16. Contact Scott Rafferty on 079 5656 5582.

Doors open at 7pm with action starting at 8.15pm.