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Otley's Jack Bateson beaten as sparks fly in ABA final
Jack Bateson narrowly failed to shift good mate Charlie Edwards as England’s number one amateur flyweight.
Bateson, from Otley, lost his bid to claim the ABA 52kg title after a thrilling final in Liverpool.
Croydon’s Edwards lived up to his number one seeding by taking the unanimous decision in a contest that matched the hype.
The pair, who have both won national titles at light-fly, are friends on the full-time GB squad and have sparred together at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. But they have kept their distance since Bateson moved up to the same weight.
Edwards said: “There was definitely pressure on me because Jack was moving up and trying to take my spot but I knew I had his number and I proved it to everyone out there."
Bateson, who had brushed past Joe Maphosa and Jay Smith in the previous rounds, was the busier boxer and finished strongly when he caught Edwards with a couple of right hands during the final round. But it was not enough to swing the overall balance.
There was much better news for bantamweight Qais Ashfaq, who does some of his training at Huggy’s gym in Bradford.
Ashfaq became a two-time champion and qualified for a spot in this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.
Ashfaq trains regularly in Sheffield but for the last nine months has also worked once a week with Alwyn Belcher at the city centre gym owned by former pro Huggy Osman.
The former Commonwealth junior gold medallist beat West Ham’s Lucien Reid in the final. He had earlier comfortably overcome Reece Mould (Doncaster Plant) and Lee Mitchell (Pool of Life) on unanimous verdicts.
Osman said: “The final was a bit scrappy because of the other kid’s style. But he was never going to out-box Qais.”
This year’s championships took on the international format with boxers competing over three consecutive days and without head guards.
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