Boxing: Fans get rich rewards at Scottish Champs

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The capacity crowd of amateur boxing fans who turned out to support their local heroes in the Scottish Senior championships at Meadowbank over the weekend were richly rewarded with some outstanding club scraps.

None more so than provided by Lochend middleweight Tommy Philbin, pictured right, who, having stopped Holyrood’s gallant Scott Blair in the first round of their preliminary bout on Saturday, impressively tamed the relentless charges of Springhill’s Robert Forrest with blistering rights and lefts to win by a convincing 20-12 margin and grab a place in this weekend’s semi-finals.

There was further success for the Lochend gym when, in an eagerly-anticipated Capital derby, lightweight Stevie Nicol outpointed Clovenstone’s Pieyam Khosrowpour. However, Nicol was made to toil hard for his 12-4 points triumph while Lochend light-welterweight Lewis Benson and Meadowbank’s Sean Spence, who are close mates outside the ring, also produced a cracking, crowd-pleasing bout.

In an absorbing duel, Benson used his greater height and reach to try to outjab Spence but the Meadowbank man scored with some good right-hand jaw punches which were reflected in the close margin, Benson winning 8-7.

Craigmillar lightweight Tony James started as underdog against Holyrood’s smart, switch-hitting, 60kg quarter-final rival Phil Coppola, but boxed brilliantly to win by a deserved 16-11. However, another Holyrood boxer, welterweight Chris Givan, looked very unlucky to lose by 15-9 to Greenock southpaw Don Brown. Givan gave as good as he got for long spells during his 69kg clash with Brown and jolted the Greenock man several times with stiff rights in each of the three rounds.

Meanwhile, Meadowbank southpaw lightweight ace Lewis Paulen gave a masterful display of counter-punching to beat the non-stop, come- forward attacks of Lochend’s Ian Keys by 12-3. Eastern and Intermediate champion Paulen now boxes Tony James in an intriguing semi-final on Saturday in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.

However, the man that even Paulen’s coach Mark Geraghty has identified as the division’s championship dangerman – Newharthill’s Charlie Flynn – ended Lochend hope Kevin Skey’s championship ambitions by outclassing the Capital boxer by a massive 27-1 margin, before also beating Viewpark’s Andrew McKenzie by 25-11 to clinch a semi-final place.

Another city boxer through to the semis this Saturday is Clovenstone light-heavyweight Kevin Gorrian, who saw off the challenge of Andrew Taylor from the Lochee club in Dundee. However, firm favourite to win the Scottish 81kg crown this year in many fans’ opinion, Holyrood light-heavyweight Brian Forsyth, kept his own title hopes alive by narrowly outpointing Renfrewshire’s tough Michael Atkinson by 11-10.

Lochend’s Lewis Akinlami, who was a narrow winner by points countback on Saturday in his prelim middleweight bout with Ryan Fairhurst from the Bravehearts club, lost out on a possible semis spot after being outpointed by Springhill’s Kieran Smith 13-9 in their quarter-final clash on Sunday.

Even the women’s championships produced a Capital club derby clash with Holyrood lightweight, Louis Mitchell, outscoring Meadowbank’s Katy Atkin by 19-9.

Other Eastern results: Saturday – Prelim bouts: 69kg: C Givan (Holyrood) beat D Robson (Renfrewshire) 25-7; D Brown (Greenock) beat S Eng (Leith Victoria) 11-5; M Harkin (Clydebank) beat O Spence (Meadowbank) 12-3; S Rae (Barrhead) beat J Easton (Craigmillar) 12-9. 75kg: Forrest (Springhill) beat M Docherty (Kelty) 11-9. 64kg: L Benson (Lochend) beat A Bailey (Granite City) 13-6; E Gear (Lochend) beat L Burnett (Kincorth) 11-7. 56kg: D Dickson (Lochend) beat H Connell (Doonhamers) 21-9. Youth 1994, 60kg: J Pirie (Kincorth) beat S Swanney (Craigmillar) retiral.