Chichester boxers are ones to watch - and coach doesn’t often say that

editorial image

St Gerards Amateur Boxing club travelled to Margate with two boxers ready to box their socks off.

The venue was the Winter Gardens for an annual black-tie dinner show held by Ramsgate ABC.

First up for the Chichester club was senior novice Mark Chandler, 27, who weighed in at 86kg for his first contest.

He faced home boxer Stephen Halliday, 24 and 88kg, and also a novice.

The first round saw Chandler perform well before, in the second, Halliday, a very big bulky puncher, tried to storm his way forward but to no avail.

In the last Halliday gave his all and forced a standing count but Chandler won the contest.

The dad-of-one from Portsmouth, who works as a car mechanic, was overawed by his win and said it was the hardest thing he had done in his life but had given him the most enjoyable feeling.

St Gerards junior boxer Xavier Southerton (pictured above), 16 and 65kg, was up against Danny Shearman, 68kg, from Smallholdings ABC. It was soon evident Shearman was much more experienced than the St Gerards camp had believed and they retired Southerton .

Southerton hopes to meet Shearman when he has more bouts under his belt.

After a late trip back from Kent, St Gerards were on the road again the next day bound for Harlow dog stadium in Essex for a show hosted by Brentwood Youth ABC.

St Gerards’ up-and-coming heavyweight Will Atha is only 15 but is already 6ft 1in tall and weighs in at 86kg.

Atha was taking on home boxer Harry McDermott, also 15, 87kg and around 6ft 4in.

McDermott had more experience but Atha is technically good.

Atha had to work behind his jab and negate McDermott’s extra height advantage and he did just that, catching him with some powerful left hooks and punishing bodyshots to win the first round.

The second round was much tougher and closer – a rollercoaster ride of a round.

In the third and penultimate round Atha caught McDermott with the ease of a seasoned pro clearly winning the round and the contest. He won on a majority decision – a very well-deserved victory for the St Gerards boxer.

After the contest coach Lavelle revealed McDermott was the nephew of John McDermott, the pro boxer who is a former English champion and himself the son of a British heavyweight champion, also called John. Both were there supporting him.

Lavelle said: “I wanted Will to keep his feet on the ground which he did.

“Harry is from obvious good pedigree but Debbie Atha, our secretary and Will’s mum, feeds Will on good old Yorkshire scram which fuels his special talent all day long.

“Young Will is definitely one to watch for the future – and I don’t often say that!”