Whithorn Bravehearts annual boxing show was held in the New Town Hall, Whithorn, last Sunday.
The town hall was filled to capacity and with 13 bouts in total with boxers from ten different clubs attending from Tamworth, Carlisle, Fort William, Stranraer and Glasgow the cheers could be heard from the top of “the toon”.
First up was Tyler ‘Hot Dog’ Jolly against last year’s opponent, Carlisle boxer G Johnston. After a rousing ring entrance by the bagpipes to Flower of Scotland, both young boxers from the sound of the first bell showed great skill and fitness with Jolly easily catch Johnston with fast jabs and timed counter punches. Entering the last round, the Carlisle boxer knew he was behind in points and started throwing booming right hands in an attempt to catch the ‘Hot Dog’ but the young Braveheart used his crafty footwork to slip away from the punches easily countered his way to the first win of the day.
Making his ring debut for the Bravehearts was Sam ’The Shadow” Saunders against Dylan Beattie from Dennistoun ABC, Glasgow. Both boxers used the ring well showing a variety of punches and going into the third round, ‘The Shadow’ was only one point behind. His corner gave new instructions to try and gain the momentum for the win but the Glasgow lad’s fitness enabled him to keep out of trouble and the lead was held by Beattie to the final bell.
Also making his ring debut was Mark ‘Dogg’ Milven competing in an exhibition bout due to weight differences against G Hawkswort from Dennistoun ABC. The three rounds of boxing that followed was enjoyed by the local support and both boxers hands were raised at the final bell as no winner is declared in exhibition bouts.
Popular boxer Kit ‘Animal’ Wright stepped into the ring next against Kilmarnock lad R McGinney who from the bell punched non-stop into what became a solid brick wall. As Kit stuck to his coaches’ advise and let no punches penetrate his defence, McGinney began to tire and ‘The Animal’ roared into life throwing his trademark powerhouse bodyshots which impressed the judges and gave him the win.
Entering the ring next to the tune Underdog by Kasabian was Sam Mactier ‘The Boghouse Bomber’. This was specially selected due to Carlisle boxer Luke Surtees greater experience, having twice the number of bouts under his belt. But from the three rounds that followed, Mactier was the aggressor. His southpaw style and his fast and furious combinations were good enough to get the nod from the judges give a deserved win to ‘The Bomber’.
The last bout before the interval was Macauley “‘Lightening’ Old against A Duncan from Auchengeich ABC. Both of Macauley’s coaches have been impressed with his improving speed and ability to slip punches and this bout from a boxing fans ringside seat was awesome and worthy of any top of the bill in Scotland. At the end of the bout, the referee raised Old’s hand and personally thanked both boxers for the display they put on.
After a short interval the current tally for the Bravehearts was four out of five wins. With the more experienced opponents to come in Royal Burgh, coach Wullie Martin was keen to keep the wins coming to the Bravehearts.
Entering the ring to flow rider, easy feeling was Graeme ‘Ghost’ Service boxing against Birmingham boxer J O’Donnell, this was a fantastic bout that pleased the crowd due to both boxers ability to slip, bob and weave punches. Going into the third round, there was still no clear winner and instructions to ’The Ghost’ were given loud and clear by coach Tom Jolly that spurred him into attacking mode, securing the deserved win.
Current Scottish champion Daniel ‘The Guns’ Purves then boxed J Pattison from Carlisle ABC. From the sound of the bell the Carlisle boxer came out of his corner like light a bolt of lightening trying to stop ‘The Guns’ in his tracks, but Purves used his experience and skill to swiftly respond with his trademark combinations forcing Pattison onto the ropes. Three rounds followed with ‘The Guns’ ammunition steadily weakening his opponent and securing another Bravehearts win.
The penultimate bout was Connal ‘Magic’ Macdonald against GB champion Ryan ‘Hitman’ Hatton from Tamworth ABC. The crowd now were all on their feet trying to gain a better view of this bout and the noise that greeted both boxers could surely be heard over the border in England. A blistering pace was maintained throughout the three rounds with both boxers giving no quarter, the hit man was four points up going in to the last round, much to the surprise of Mcdonald corner. New instructions were given and as soon as the bell rang Mcdonald was off out of his corner like a raging bull, thowing his punches with new found strength, trying to close the gap and gain the win. As the bell rang to finish the bout both boxers showed ultimate respect for each other in what was to be the bout of the night. The scoring finished five to four in favour of Hatton and the referee congratulated both boxer for the display of strength and courage that he had just witnessed.
After an auction of boxing memorabilia, including a pair of Ricky Hatton signed gloves which reached £525, the scene was set for the ultimate show down. The lights were dimmed and the crowd were out of their seats as the sound of ‘Now is the Time’ by Scott Brown was played as middle weight Ryan ‘Boom Boom’ Fairhurst walked into the ring with his opponent R Watson from Fort William.
Fairhurst had been given strict instructions from his coaches on how to handle the home show support and not get dragged into a war of attrition. This was an organised rematch as Watson had snatched the victory from Fairhust last season in Fort William. This time the bout was over four rounds and both lads settled in quickly moving around the ring showing respect and countering each other effectively. AS the bout progressed, Fairhurst strength and power started to overcome Watson and the noise from the crowd confirmed that points were rattling in favour of the Braveheart. After the final bell, both boxers had certainly given their all and the crowd rose to their feet in appreciation. The icing on the cake was when the referee raised Fairhurst hand confirming another Braveheart win.
Best away boxer - Ryan Hatton Tamworth ABC.
Best home boxer - Connal Macdonald.
Jai Jolly Trophy for best boxer of the season - Daniel Purves.
Braveheart coaches Wullie Martin and Tom Jolly wish to thanks all sponsors, helpers, committee members and especially the catering ladies for organising a fantastic boxing show which was a credit to the Whithorn community. Having produced seven out of nine winners, coach Tom Jolly said: “Our wee club has some cracking boxers who train hard and give 100 per cent each time they step in to the ring, both Wullie and I are proud of them all.”