March Amateur Boxing Club star Smith, 12, falls three points short of ABA title

THREE points was all that prevented schoolboy boxing star Tony Smith from becoming a national champion at the weekend.

The March Amateur Boxing Club youngster lost his first career bout on Saturday in the final of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) Schoolboys Championship at Mansfield ABC.

Smith, 12, was beaten 21-18 by former minor champion Mark Dickinson, from Birtley ABC - ending his unbeaten run of nine consecutive bouts.

Coach Bernie Wing said: “He absolutely boxed his heart out and I thought he’d won it.

“He lost the first round by three points and that meant that he was always playing catch-up. In the last round he was fantastic and I thought he’d got there. What a bout.

“This lad kept coming at him but Tony was meeting him. He really held is own.

“He was absolutely gutted at the end. It blew him apart because he had put some much into it.

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“You couldn’t ask for any more from him and he can be very proud of himself.”

Smith will now begin preparations for the Junior ABA Championships and March ABC’s April show.