Repton title hopes ended as favourite Ward is disqualified
The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield proved the graveyard for Repton's senior ABA title hopes following the controversial disqualification of Martin Ward
By LEN WHALEY
The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield proved the graveyard for Repton's senior ABA title hopes as a double disappointment was followed by the controversial disqualification of red-hot title favourite Martin Ward on Saturday.
Ward, holding a clear points lead, was disqualified in the final round of his semi-final against Army rival James Allen following warnings for holding and ducking low - a ruling condemned as "ridiculous" by Repton's long-time senior trainer Tony Burns.
"Martin was disqualified for boxing in the same style that has brought him praise in previous championship bouts," Burns said.
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"He was really upset by the ruling which has prevented him from joining an exclusive group of boxers to win ABA senior titles at the age of 17."
The skills that have seen Ward hailed as one of the brightest prospects on the amateur scene - and a strong hope for a 2012 Olympic medal - were obvious as he built up a clear points lead, reaching the end of the opening round with a 10-2 advantage.
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Experienced Allen narrowed the gap in the second session but Ward held a 17-9 lead at the beginning of the final round and the Repton hope looked a certainty to reach the final until the disqualification cost him victory.
Ward had received a bye in his quarter final while Allen had fought his way to a 15-6 points victory over Danny Perry, from Norwich.
Allen now advances to a final clash with Jason Cunningham, from Doncaster Plantworks, in Friday night's national final.
The Bethnal Green club's jinx had started before the first punch was thrown in Sheffield after England flyweight Oscar Webb was withdrawn for personal reasons.
The club's title hopes looked brighter when lightweight Michael McCarthy showed sharp first-round form against Walcot BC rival Daniel Bharg.
Accurate long-range punching saw McCarthy move into a 3-1 advantage at the end of the opening round.
But Bharg scored well to close the gap and though Repton supporters believed McCarthy had done enough, the judges disagreed and sent the Walcot boxer through to the semi-final by a single point.