Boxing: Repton boxer James Branch claims England Boxing Senior Elite after long wait
- Credit: Archant
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James Branch achieved his long-time ambition when he claimed England Boxing’s Senior Elite 86kg title last week and and admitted he felt fantastic.
Branch and his father, James Sr., both won a string of awards in Repton colours, but tasted defeat in senior finals, before that title quest ended last week.
The 21-year-old, who lost the heavyweight final two years ago and then had to undergo serious spinal surgery, but never abandoned the dream that he would come back a winner.
“This is the one I wanted,” admitted Branch Jr, who works alongside his father as a carpenter.
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The Repton entry made sure the long, hard road had a happy ending, recording three wins in as many days at the Magna Centre, Rotherham.
He boxed his way to a quarter-final success over Dan Azeez (Essex University), shaking off the ring rust to score with his solid southpaw jab.
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Army rival John Martin gave him a tough semi-final test, but the solid counter punching of the Repton boxer dictated the contest as he moved well, picking accurate shots to take the verdict.
That confidence continued into the final when Branch topped his title run, producing a first-class display against Basingstoke’s England representative Bryce Goodridge.
Relaxing to dominate the action from the first round, his free-flowing attacks piled up the points as he was awarded the decision and the England Elite 86kg title.
The relief showed as he sank to the canvas at the verdict, then joined his father in celebrations with the England Elite belt to add to their impressive family array of awards.
• Repton’s Nikoletta Paksi brought back a bronze medal from the Rotherham finals where she lost a tight points verdict against Nemesis rival Elena Narozanski.
• There was disappointment for Chris Bourke, the GB boxer at Poplar’s Limehouse club, as the number one seed at bantamweight suffered a shock quarter-final defeat against Midland Counties champion Shabaz Masoud in Rotherham.
• Lansbury boxer James Fearnley heads for the National Schools quarter-finals after winning the London title in Feltham on Sunday, where clubmate Shae Wilson was a runner-up.