Boxing star Stevens becomes Junior ABA champion but Gill tastes defeat

SENSATIONAL teenager Charlie Stevens ended a Fenland club’s 54-year wait for a Junior Amateur Boxing Association champion with a thrilling victory on Saturday.

The March Amateur Boxing Club star - who has already won the ABA Schoolboys championship - beat Gloves Boxing Club’s Ibrahim Shah 17-14 to spark emotional scenes in Kent.

The 15-year-old from Upwell was the first March ABC boxer to reach the junior ABA finals since Robert Brown in 1995 and the club’s first winner since Brian Howlett and Malcolm Fisher both won titles in 1957.

Stevens said: “I was absolutely ecstatic at the end. I was so happy I almost cried and I saw Dave Cole (coach) and my dad wiping their eyes. It was really emotional because this victory is something for the whole club to enjoy. Hopefully this can give our other boxers a massive boost.

“This makes all the hard work worth it and it’s the bragging rights that I like the most. Everybody wants to be the best and luckily for me I can be.”

Stevens said he couldn’t thank his March ABC coaches Bernie Wing, Dave Cole, Scott Cullon and Frank Allen enough for their commitment in helping him realise his boxing ambitions.

Wing said everyone at the club was “over the moon” with Stevens’ success and that nights like Saturday “make it all worthwhile”.

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Stevens - who has already boxed for England - is set to represent Essex for the Eastern counties in Norway this weekend.

The teenager’s dad, Mark, a former boxer himself, said: “Lisa and I are so proud of Charlie. He works so hard and he’s so disciplined. If I was given the choice of winning the lottery or Charlie winning on Saturday I don’t know what I’d have chosen. We’re over the moon.”

Stevens’ talented younger brother Cole, 12 - the Eastern Counties schoolboy champion - also continues to prove that boxing talent runs throughout the Stevens’ family.

CHATTERIS Amateur Boxing Club’s Jordan Gill was unable to win his second national title in six months as he slipped to a narrow defeat in Kent on Saturday.

Gill, 16, who became Clubs for Young People (CYP) British Champion in November, lost 9-5 to Sunderland’s Jake Slater. He was the first Chatteris ABC boxer to reach the final since Matty Payne in 1962 and could have become the club’s first ever junior ABA champion.

Gill said: “I am frustrated with my performance but looking back I should have used different tactics. However it doesn’t affect my long term prospects and I can’t wait to put in a good performance at the Chatteris show tomorrow.”

Close friend Charlie Stevens admitted he was “gutted” for Gill but that the talented star would bounce back from the defeat.

Chatteris ABC coach Paul Gill said: “Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Jordan so he’ll just have to settle for one national title this season.”

• TICKETS are still available for Chatteris ABC’s show tomorrow at the Cromwell Community College. Call Matty Payne on 01354 693630 for more details.