Magnificent seven for Merseyside & Cheshire ABA as region breaks records at national finals
With eight boxers in elite national finals last month, the most of any region, hopes were high that Merseyside & Cheshire could add to their long and proud list of ABA senior champions, and the boxing hotbed didn’t disappoint when no fewer than seven of them triumphed in Derby.
After a relatively – by its own standards – quiet period when few of its rising stars made the finals, let alone won them, the region looked back to its best last year when Kurt Wiggins (Salisbury), Callum Makin and Stephen Clarke (both Rotunda) all tasted national glory.
This year, however, they surpassed not only that level but also the success they had in the early 1980s, when the likes of John Lyon (Lowe House), Keith Wallace, George and Ray Gilbody (all St Helens Star), Tony and Kenny Willis (both Rotunda), Jimmy Price (Holy Name) and John Hyland (St Ambrose) were regularly crowned national champions.
Indeed, their seven victories at the Derby Arena on Saturday even eclipsed the 2000s when not a year went by when a Merseyside & Cheshire champion – and often one, two, or even three more – went on to lift the national title.
While all performed well, it was Croxteth’s Oliver Jones who won the coveted Mickey May Memorial Award for boxer of the tournament (25 finals) with a fantastic performance from start to finish in his 63.5kg final victory over Harvey Orriss (Heart of Portsmouth).
Elsewhere, the region’s four other male winners were No Limits’ Lucas Dube whose father is a Zimbabwean, Leon of Matobo at 51kg, Kai Birch (JCs) at 54kg – the title Wiggins won last year, hard-hitting Lucas Biswana (Everton Red Triangle) – who stopped four out of six opponents on his way to the 67kg final – and, at 71kg, reigning champion Callum Makin, who moves into an even more select band with his second national championship.
Just missing out at 75kg was Phoenix Fire’s Karl Turner, but the talented Warrington man will come again.
The region’s two female champions were Rotunda’s Olivia Holmes (57 kg), who beat defending champion Vivien Parsons (added to the GB Olympic programme only last year), and Halton Riverside’s Rhea Kanu, who, after losing the 52kg final last year, dropped down two divisions to claim the title at 48kg.



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