Trinity boxers Russ Henshaw and Jamie Williams produced outstanding performances last weekend in the Senior Elite ABA Championships in Coventry.
Both were contesting Midland Counties ABA finals against vastly more experienced boxers but despite this took their bouts to the wire and were unlucky not to progress to the national quarter-finals.
Henshaw, 27, faced national ABA champion Simon Barclay of Corby in the heavyweight final and despite Barclay’s far greater experience the Trinity man imposed himself on the fight from the first bell, taking a first round lead on the computer scoring system.
Henshaw continued to pressure his man in the second round, but the turning point came when a clash of heads on the inside saw Henshaw with a cut opening up under his lip.
The bout was allowed to continue but despite a big effort from the Trinity man his lead was cut down and Barclay started the final round one point ahead.
Without his handicap that he had to protect Henshaw may well have gone on and won, but Barclay managed to retain his title by a 34-28 points decision, as the Trinity star fought not only against his opponent but also the fear of the referee or doctor stepping to end the the contest because of his injury.
Trinity coach Scott Rafferty said: “This was a fantastic performance by Russ and I thought even despite his injury he still did enough to win this bout.
“But he can move on from this performance knowing he can match any boxer at his weight in the country. He will have a very exciting few years ahead of him.”
Williams, 21, also had a tough opponent facing him in Raza Hamza of Aston Boxing Club in Birmingham.
Hamza was a four-time national champion and presented Williams with one of his toughest tasks to date.
The tall Birmingham boxer tried to work on the counter but the smart tactics of the Trinity man left Hamza throwing punches at nothing.
It was therefore disappointing for the Trinity corner to see their man 8-4 behind after what had looked a very even first round but Williams responded well in the next two rounds and got through with big shots in the last round which was the highest scoring.
Although the young Trinity star pushed his man all the way Hamza held on to take a 18-14 points verdict from the computer scored contest.
Scott Rafferty added: “Jamie came of age today. He performed with great maturity against a top opponent and proved he belongs with the elite in this country.
“I thought Jamie was unlucky not to progress after a close contest but I am sure he will go on to reach his true potential from having bouts like this.”
Ilkeston boxing fans will get a chance to see Williams in action again on Friday night (16th) at the Festival Inn, Trowell when he makes a challenge for the Derbyshire ABA challenge belt against the current holder Connar Blackshaw of Derby.
The show promises to be full of entertainment with super heavyweight Jake Harrison taking on local rival Sean Slater of Bulwell.
A full programme of Trinity’s exciting squad will be in action plus several Derbyshire ABA junior championship bouts.
Tickets are still available to be purchased by payment at the door, but be early to avoid disappointment. Doors open 7pm, boxing starts approx 8.30pm. For more information contact Scott Rafferty on 079 56 56 55 82.