The past week has been a very busy time for Arbroath ABC boxers with three shows on consecutive nights featuring some excellent displays by the growing squad of young boxers.
The action started off on Thursday in the Logie Club, Lochee, where Terry Ballantine made the short journey to compete in the final of the North District Welterweight Championship. He faced the very accomplished Stuart Campbell, Lochee ABC in an intense and well matched bout.
From the start Campbell took centre ring, using fast jabs to keep Ballantine on his back foot. The attacks came in sharp three and four punch bursts which Ballantine parried on arms and gloves, but some punches got through. Towards the end of the first Ballantine began to land with hard hooks to the body, slowing Campbell down somewhat, allowing Ballantine to tee-up crisp head shots.
At the start of the second round Campbell landed a text-book right uppercut that brought Ballantine’s head up from his shoulders. This seemed to act as a wake up call for Ballantine who responded by rapidly upping his work rate, forcing the pace, driving Campbell to the ropes where he hammered in lefts and rights to head and body. Campbell came back with some useful counters but Ballantine had certainly taken that round.
The third and final round started where the second left off. Ballantine in control as a tiring Campbell’s work rate fell away, the body shots having had the desired effect. Unfortunately, just as Ballantine was beginning to dominate an accidental clash of heads caused a cut on his eyebrow causing the referee to stop the contest to examine the damage.
Satisfied it was a minor wound the referee allowed the bout to continue. The brief respite had given Campbell time to regroup and compose himself and he came blasting back, firing in a flurry of punches to the head. Ballantine covered and used good upper-body movement to defend himself, replying with more thudding body shots that once more slowed down the eager Campbell.
The result of an exciting and very competitive bout went to the judges who awarded the verdict and North District Welterweight Title to a delighted Terry Ballantine by a close split decision.
Friday saw the action move to Elgin FC Supporters Club, Elgin, where three boxers were in action.
Haydn Hill was matched with Fraser Wilkinson, Elgin, and from the first bell took control of the bout. This was the first time Hill had boxed a south-paw but he overcame the challenge with ease, manoeuvring his opponent to the ropes, landing three and four punches to the body, before stepping back and as Wilkinson dropped his hands, firing in fast straight lefts and rights to the head. Hill’s speed of punch caused Wilkinson a multitude of problems. As the bout progressed Hill began to demonstrate the growing range of ability at his behest. The variety of punches and the angles he created in attack and defence wore down a game but outclassed opponent and a faultless display earned Haydn Hill a deserved unanimous points win.
Deon Johnston took on Elgin’s Lewis Henderson in an explosive but shortlived confrontation. Johnston marched forward from the first bell, landing a volley of hard straight punches to the head causing the referee to administer a standing count. That was the first twenty seconds and the next saw more of the same. Johnston stepped forward again, feinted a couple of jabs and landed a crunching left hook to the head. Henderson slid along the rope only to be caught by a devastating straight right that ended the contest. The referee stepping into save Henderson from harm.
This was Deon Johnston’s most emphatic win and a display of power punching that has been lurking just below the surface until now.
Liam Buchan was making a return to competitive boxing after a two year gap and his contest against Boxing Scotland Ltd., Novice Champion Callum MacKay, Highland BA, was a real humdinger. MacKay started fast, forcing Buchan to the ropes with quick combinations. Keeping composed behind a tight guard Buchan absorbed the attack before imposing his strength on MacKay, driving him back across the ring onto the ropes where they both fired in heavy shots. The second and third rounds followed the same script, MacKay using fast combinations which Buchan parried on arms and gloves, before countering with hard straight rights and crunching left hooks. The action eased a little before the final bell as the effect of the effort and punches took their toll on both boxers.
The judges were split on the verdict, Callum MacKay being awarded the decision by the narrowest of margins. Liam Buchan was not disgraced by this defeat, having pushed a very fit and busy Scottish Champion to his limits.
Saturday night’s destination was the Garioch Hall, Inverurie, where Cameron Swinton made his debut appearance against Paul Breville, Barrhead. Swinton started well, his first left jab landing on target against a busy bobbing opponent. Measuring the distance to perfection with good straight punches Swinton maintained the pressure throughout the first and second rounds, scoring with nearly every punch as he switched attacks from head to body and back again. Breville had some success with a firm left hook which he used to good effect. Swinton took the shot well and answered with a stiff straight right, continuing his relentless wearing down of his opponent.
The final round saw the action drop off somewhat as both these first timers found the pace of the previous rounds draining their reserves of stamina. The punches had lost their crispness, the footwork was ponderous, but the spirit was strong. Cameron Swinton kept up the pressure to the bell and was awarded a very decisive and deserved unanimous points win. An excellent start to a promising future.
Haydn Hill, who had travelled with his teammate to support him in his first contest,was also in action when he took part in an exhibition contest to allow a home boxer to appear after his original opponent had failed to arrive at the venue. This was his second bout in two days and a credit to his fitness he cruised through the contest with consummate ease.
A busy week for everyone at the club, and in the weeks to come more boxers will be in action all over the country.
Arbroath will get a chance to see all these exciting boxers for themselves on December 12 in the Community Centre, Marketgate. A twelve bout bill is being organised and a great night is in the offing. Tickets, £10 each, are available from club members and boxers.