COUNTY honours are up for grabs as the Schools Championships get underway.
Stacey ABC play host to the event at Unity Hall in Landport as the road to glory begins tonight.
That could lead all the way to national honours for the talents involved, but the proud moment of picking up a Hampshire title is the first rung on that ladder.
Five championship bouts are taking place, supplemented by Sussex versus Surrey match-ups and other contests. That takes the expected total of bouts to 20 on a bumper night of boxing.
Team Wiseman’s Daniel Salmon is entered in the 2004 minors at 31kg with Waterside’s Brandon Paul and Golden Ring’s Steve McCarthy. Gosport pair Owen Sharpe and Dominic Osborne meet each other at 43kg.
There’s a finely-balanced contest at 41.5kg in the 2003 Class A category as Moneyfields’ Jay Cooper takes on Golden Ring’s Mitchell Turner.
Heart of Portsmouth’s Lloyd Farrington also meets Southampton’s Luke Tobitt at 38.5kg.
Stacey coach and Hampshire and Isle of Wight honorary secretary, Yinka Bello, believes a lot of promising boxing will be showcased.
He said: ‘There’s around 20 bouts including championship bouts. There are some good, exciting contests to look forward to.’
Hosting the show marks a landmark for Stacey, who have kept the club afloat after settling into new premises.
They have moved into a new base at the old Portsmouth Labour Club after their former home was turned into flats.
It’s been a battle for the club to get the premises up to standard.
But, thanks to the local community pulling together with the efforts of the club’s coaches, it’s a mission they’ve completed.
Bello said: ‘We lost our old gym and we’ve had to get so many people to help to get the new place up together.
‘B&M Scaffolding, Blanchard Wells, Tony Udy Roofing and Mark Oldfield Heating & Plumbing gave up their time and did everything at cost. Brian Featherstone, Carl Lane, Jason Gould, Josh Leigh, Ash Leigh and Martin Robinson all mucked in.
‘That’s the spirit of the club that we have everyone pulling together from the community. Without them it would have been impossible to survive. Now, we can look to the long term and this show is seeing us move along a little more.’
Entry to the show tonight is £10 (adults) and £5 (juniors) Boxing starts at 7.30pm.