Chichester and Bognor send stars to England Boxing's all-female show

Katie (left) and Abigail Wawman at the England Boxing event in Manchester
Katie (left) and Abigail Wawman at the England Boxing event in Manchester

Up-and-coming female boxers from clubs in Chichester and Bognor shone at England boxing’s winter box cup, the organisation's first all-female competition.

Chichester-based St Gerards Boxing Club coaches travelled to Manchester with the Wawman Wonders – sisters Katie and Abigail Wawman – for the event.

Phoebe Griffiths-Johnson and her Bognor coaches

Phoebe Griffiths-Johnson and her Bognor coaches

The pair were in the elite class of senior boxers in the Class C category, Abigail at featherweight and Katie at lightweight.

Senior coach Gerry Lavelle said: “It was a whole weekend away but to see the girls performing and applying their skills was worth it.”

With the sisters due in the ring at virtauly the same time, Lavelle enlisted the help of Stephen whitwell of St Ives BC to look after Katie.

Lavelle said: “Abigail was up first, against the much older Colleen Roach of the Left Hook Boxing Club, and it was a very good match-up on paper.

“The first round was pretty frantic, with Colleen pushing forward aggressively and with Abigail finding it hard to avoid the rushing tactics that were non-stop by Coleen, Abigail received a standing eight count from the referee and lost the first round.

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“She was asked if she felt okay to carry on and she replied ‘yes’. I told her that if she wasn’t coping in the second round, for whatever reason, I would retire her.

“The next round was much the same as Coleen completely took over. Abigail just wasn’t herself and I didn’t want too see her getting hurt, so I made the decision to retire her,saving her from any further unecessary punishment.

“She has only just turned 19 so has many,many more years to learn from this experience.”

Fighting Katie Wawman was Claire Purvis from the Phil Thomas School of Boxing, with coach Whitwell and Terri Kelly, a top female coach, looking after her.

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Lavelle said: “I took over as lead coach from round two and after Stephen said Katie had clearly won the first round, I told her to carry on as normal and she promptly did so, taking over completely. The third round was no different, with Katie closing Claire down with an avalanche of perfect punches.

“Claire received two standing counts from the referee and was very lucky to hear the final bell. Katie won a brilliant, very well-deserved gold medal.

“As a club we were very pleased with both the girls’ performances, as they landed a gold and a silver. Both girls were amazing.”

St.Gerards is always looking for sponsorship to back their effortsto address anti-social behaviour in the community.

Contact the club at one of their sessions at Swanfield Community Centre, Swanfield Drive, Chichester, on via their website.

* Bognor Amateur Boxing Club 16-year-old Pheobe Griffiths-Johnson took part in England Boxing’s first all-female international winter box cup as it drew entries from across Europe.

Griffiths-Johnson is a very talented and focused young athlete and had her sights set on a gold medal.

She was a class act when it counted most and her performance gained her the title of 50kg champion and the gold medal she deserved.

Her club and coaches are immensely proud of her and it looks like 2019 will bring her more honours as she constantly strives to improve and progress.

The club said Griffiths-Johnson trained like a demon and always gave 110 per cent.

Club coach Alan Wise accompanied Griffiths-Johnson to the event and said he knew she had it in her to become champion. A sterling job was as always done by Wise in the corner and he is in no small part responsible for helping her achieve her success.