Boxing: Finals thrill Meadowbank crowd

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A CAPACITY crowd at Meadowbank Sports Centre was rewarded with ten action-packed fights in the 2012 Amateur Boxing Scotland Senior Finals.

And nowhere more so than in the three-round slugfest between Holyrood light-heavyweight Brian Forsyth and Dennistoun’s James Cunningham which saw the Capital star claim the Scottish 81kg crown.

A brilliant display of counterpunching saw Forsyth prevail over the relentless two-fisted charges of Cunningham, who lost 15-14 on points.

Meadowbank lightweight Lewis Paulin, meanwhile, came within a whisker of scoring a major upset over Newharthill’s 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Charlie Flynn. Paulin gave the classy Flynn plenty to think about for three torrid rounds with blistering body assaults but overall, the Lanarkshire man’s quality counterpunching impressed the judges enough for them to award Flynn a narrow, but merited, 11-10 verdict.

Paulin’s performance was praised by Flynn’s coach, Willie Downie, who said: “Full credit to Paulin for the way he took my Charlie Flynn to the wire.”

Another Meadowbank 60kg title contender, women’s finalist Katy Atkin, gained no joy from winning the female lightweight title by a walkover after her scheduled opponent from the Kilmarnock-based North West club, Jacqueline Ralston, pulled out due to injury.

Meadowbank coach Mark Geraghty commented: “Katy may be the 60kg women’s champion but she is gutted as she wanted to earn her victory, not have it given to her on a plate.”

In contrast, a crashing right-hand blow flush on the chin in round one woke up Lochend light-welterweight Lewis Benson from his listless start to his 64kg final against Barrhead’s Steven Rae.

After that painful wake-up call, a fired-up Benson turned tiger in the subsequent two rounds to spear his Barrhead rival Rae with long, triple left jabs and jarring right uppercuts. Benson, despite his rocky start, looked a big points winner over his Renfrewshire rival but, surprisingly, the judges – influenced perhaps by Benson’s lackadaisical first round– scored the bout 6-6, prompting a computer countback which saw Benson still emerge victorious by 37-31.

Lochend’s Pushker Singh kept his nose continually in front of 51kg title challenger Martin Beveridge from Garnock Valley club, courtesy of thudding left hooks and solid right hands, and deservedly clinched the Scottish bantamweight title.

But there was disappointment for Holyrood heavyweight David Smylie in his quest to duplicate clubmate Brian Forsyth’s achievements by winning the 91kg crown as Renfrewshire’s Steve Lavelle made light of Smylie’s considerable height and reach advantages to get the better of the Edinburgh boxer 9-6.