Gracjan is Sparta's golden boy: boxing prodigy Ciureja crowned ABA champion
Sparta Amateur Boxing Club star Gracjan Ciureja was crowned Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) Schools and Minors champion after storming to success in the final of the national competition.
The 13-year-old, supported by 20 members of the March-based club, travelled to the Grantham Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday June 4 to go head-to-head with opponent Zachary Swalwell for the highly-coveted golden gloves and the title of national champion.
The two youngsters faced off for glory in the 38.5kg class B final, and there were fears that the occasion may have got to Ciureja in the early stages as the March fighter began nervously in front of a capacity crowd of over 500.
However, as the round went on, the youngster grew in stature and confidence, commanding the ring and attacking Swalwell with some well-timed shots in what proved to be an evenly contested round.
Ciureja focussed more on his set-piece moves in the second round, catching the Phil Thomas School of Boxing starlet with more accurate shots and evading his opponent’s swings.
The March fighter sealed a sensational split decision victory with another assured round of boxing in the third and final round, landing some neat yet powerful punches which forced Swalwell back onto the ropes.
One of the travelling army who supported Ciureja was his coach, Matt Lenton, who couldn’t hide his pride for the young fighter.
“I’m very proud of how well Gracjan has improved,” he said. “He has showed immense improvement to get to the final and win it.
“He has done well all season, and today is a very proud day for Sparta ABC.”