Home Boxing News 2012 ABA Elite Championship Preview – Live on Boxnation

2012 ABA Elite Championship Preview – Live on Boxnation

Frank Warren Promotions



If the absence of Team GB’s Podium squad has diluted tomorrow’s senior ABA finals at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, fight buffs will at least be able to assess the talent pool likely to make an impact in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The overdue return to three-three minute rounds has lately made the amateur code a far more edifying spectacle and, for the first time in the tournament’s rich 131 year history, every second of every bout shall be televised live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/ Virgin Ch. 546).

Bizarrely, the north can be expected to dominate in the earlier lighter categories, with the south pulling matters round later in the heavier divisions. Nevertheless, there are always upsets and this year should be no different. A big shout out to coach Sid Khan’s Earlsfield ABC in south London and  Wellington ABC in Teeside, who both boast three finalists; a remarkable achievement.

The pick of the action is likely to take place in the 57KG, 63.5KG and 91+KG classes.

In the featherweight final (57KG), the contrasting styles of Stowe’s Simon Corcoran and Meanwood’s slick, switcher Qais Ashfaq should mesh to produce a belter. The former, one of nine fighting brothers (several of whom have won national junior titles), has quick hands and a stout heart but may find Yorkshireman Ashfaq, a GB Development squad member, a fraction too slick. Either way, it’s likely to be close and hectic!

Another top drawer collision is anticipated at light-welter (63.5KG), when last year’s runner-up Louis Adolphe, the first Earlsfield finalist, confronts Scouse southpaw Robbie Davies (Knowsley Vale).

Davies, son of a 1976 Montreal Olympian of the same name, has eliminated touted Jeff Saunders (South Durham) and triple ABA champion Martin Stead of the Army during his passage to the final and I expect him to overcome the audaciously talented Londoner…..just!

However, it could be a case of best till last when super heavyweight titans Joe Joyce (Earlsfield) and Frazer Clarke (Burton) finally bring the marathon punchfest to a close.

Both combatants feature on the GB Development squad and have a combined mass of close to 40 stone! They have history with Joyce forcing the 2011 semi-finalist to retire (most reluctantly!) with a damaged eye after one round of their British championship decider last November. Clarke apparently is hellbent on atoning but I tentatively side with Joyce to repeat. A more confident call is that it won’t last the full distance!

London has delivered finalists in seven of the 13 divisions and three of the capital’s stronger claims for success could come at light-middle, light-heavy and cruiserweight.

Kelvin Fawaz, of Isola Akay MBE’s fabled All Stars outfit in Paddington, has generated attention this year with both his airborne ‘Superman’ launches and a string of explosive stoppage victories. A real handful at his best, the Nigeria raised prospect promises to be too lively for Louis Cunningham, a third finalist from Wellington.

In the 81KG category, 6ft 4in Earlsfield star Kirk Garvey, a GB championship winner at just 18 and multiple London senior champion, should finally get his hands on the coveted ABA trophy. He promises to have a bit too much stardust for Macclesfield’s decent Peter Bebbington, a semi-finalist at 75KG last year.

Likewise, defending 86KG champion Deion Jumah, a clever southpaw from the Dale Youth ABC that produced both James DeGale and George Groves, looks a good thing over South Durham’s tall and cagey Declan Fusco.

The north should enjoy success at heavyweight, however, where Corby’s Simon Barkley, a 2011 semi-finalist and 2010 national cruiserweight king might have too much strength and experience for Greg Bridet (Heart of Portsmouth), a 22 year old Southampton University student and reigning national Novice champion. 

Bridet’s clubmate Robbie Matthews, also 22, is embarking on his fourth senior campaign and reached the semis at lightweight last year after two aborted attempts at light-welter.  However, I fear he may again come up short against Wellington’s light footed counter puncher Josh Leather in the 60KG final.

Three youngsters certainly worthy of a butchers, are Jack Bateson, Tamuka Muchapodwa and Danny Dignum.

At just 17, highly feted light-fly (48KG) Bateson from the Burmanstoft club in Leeds could emerge as one of the youngest ever winners of a senior title. Reigning Commonwealth Games Youth champion and a member of the GB Development squad, the gifted Yorkie should have too much speed and class for West Ham’s Jack Malik in the evening’s opening contest.

Muchapodwa, from the Reading ABC, is mallet-fisted and will enter as a strong favourite to blaze through Lewis Ritson (Forest Hall ABC) at light-middle (71KG). A fierce hooker with a high output, expect the Berkshire hope to prove far too strong.

Keep an eye out for 20 year old Brentwood middleweight Dignum, the solitary Eastern Counties finalist. A classy southpaw, Danny will be eager to emulate his twin brother John who captured the 75KG title last year. Opponent Peter Martin, another from Wellington ABC, won the national CYP’s in 2010 but might struggle to negate Dignum’s blistering hand speed.

At flyweight (51KG), Bexley’s Joe McCulley has remarkably advanced to the national final without throwing a punch; benefactor of a chain of byes! Whether that makes him fresh or stale remains to be seen but I expect him to come second against Spennymoor’s decent Joel Spragg.

At 54KG, expect Middlesbrough switcher Joseph Maphosa, who eliminated Haroon Khan (brother of Amir and a Commonwealth Games medallist for Pakistan) in the quarter final, to fiddle his way past South Oxhey strongman Reece Bellotti in the bantam final (54KG).


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