Limehouse BA’s Bourke bidding for glory

Limehouse coach Mark Collings (left) and Chris Bourke

Limehouse coach Mark Collings (left) and Chris Bourke - Credit: Archant

Number one seeding for elite title hopeful

England Boxing Elite title hope Chris Bourke, pride of the Limehouse Boxing Academy, has been boosted by an official number one seeding for the 2017 championships.

The GB choice at 56kg will not have to compete at this month’s London tournaments and gets a bye straight through to the quarter-finals at the York Hall on April 21.

“It’s great news for Chris,” said Mark Collings, coach at the two-year old club based in Poplar’s Spotlight Youth Centre where they plan a show in the spring.

Sidelined with an eye injury after international success for GB last year, 22-year-old Bourke is an inspiration for the younger members of Limehouse BA and the club sparkled with three winners at High Wycombe.

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New boys Mahir Sadad and Reda Afellad impressed with victories over Aaron Duncan (Thames Valley) and Adam Byatti (High Wycombe), while schoolboy Sam Tindall dropped a close decision against home boxer Paddy Rooney.

Senior light-welterweight Marius Potop, 22, powered to a first-round win over Thames Valley’s Tom Soan, recording his second first-round stoppage in eight days to set up his entry to the London Elite championships which get underway with the draw and weigh-in at Tottenham on Saturday.

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The London preliminaries and semi-finals take place at Tottenham on March 23-24 and the elite London finals take place at the Harrow Leisure Centre on Thursday, March 30.

Repton boxers also launch their elite title bids in the championships, while the club’s junior and cadet hopes enter their England Boxing quarter finals at Bletchley ABC this weekend.

It’s a hectic month of action for brothers Anto, Paul and Sonny Upton, the Irish East Londoners based in the gym of Poplar trainer Barry Smith.

Super-lightweight Anto launched the busy schedule with a win in Belfast, while unbeaten super-welterweight Paul appears on Friday’s MTK bill at Brentwood and Sonny bids for the English super-welterweight title in Manchester a week later.

Proud Dad Tony said: “Anto claimed the English belt last year after Paul won the Irish super-welter title and next week Sonny bids to become the Upton clan’s next national champion.”

Boxing for the first time since last July, when he won the English super-lightweight title, Anto dominated his clash with Latvian Zaurs Sadihovs at Belfast’s Devenish Centre.

With just a single defeat in his 15 pro appearances, the 25-year-old Upton outboxed his tough rival for his latest success, winning every round on the card of referee Hugh Russell.

Paul Upton has 12 straight wins, including his Irish title success, and is booked for his first action of the year on the first MTK promotion at the Brentwood Centre on a special St Patrick’s night bill.

A week later Sonny will be tested by Middleton’s Matthew Ryan in their English title clash which tops the bill at the Bowlers Centre, Manchester. Both have recorded 12 wins, with Upton beaten twice and Ryan once.

Friday’s bill is the first of six that MTK (formerly MGM Marbella) have booked at Brentwood and includes several other Area fighters, as Colin Lynes returns from a three-year break and former ABA finalist Charlie Duffield and Freddie Turner also appear on a packed programme alongside Matt McCarthy, Sohail Ahmed, plus unbeaten prospects Tey Lynn Jones, Richie Gray and Billy Allington.

Eddie Hearn’s show at York Hall on the same night features a clash of unbeaten fighters in Alan Higgins from Canning Town’s Peacock gym and Hainault-based Craig Richards, for the Southern Area super-middleweight belt.

Reece Bellotti meets Dai Davies and there are further bouts featuring Danny Dignum, Isaac Chamberlain, Paul Hyland Jr. and Felix Cash.

Cruiserweight Jose Lopes looked certain to earn a Southern Area title bid until the final minutes of his eliminator with Ossie Jervier at York Hall on Saturday.

Tall 26-year-old east Londoner Lopes had built a clear lead, landing his long jab as he aimed for an eighth straight win against a rival who scored at close range.

However the stocky Jervier launched a ninth-round onslaught, landing a right uppercut followed by a battery of blows which sent Lopes crashing against the ropes before he slumped to the canvas.

Referee Kieran McCann counted to five when hot favourite Lopes climbed up, only to sink dramatically to the floor again and the official promptly intervened.

Lopes showed his disapproval at the stoppage, which brought the first defeat of a three-year pro career, and said: “I will be back better than ever.”

Victory would have paired Lopes against the winner of the Area title clash between local rival Wadi Camacho and Karl Wheeler, which takes place at York Hall on Goodwin’s show this Saturday.

Promoter Steve Goodwin believes Lopes has the ability to bounce back and still break into the title picture, adding: “I will chase a return with Jervier and hope we can get it on again.”

Saturday’s show also features English title fights between super-bantamweight rivals Josh Kennedy and Michael Ramabeletsa and welterweights John O’Donnell and Erick Ochieng.

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