TWO gold medals, two finalists and solid debut bouts – the local contingent certainly impressed as Bathurst staged the Australian Amateur Boxing League National Novice Titles.
The two-day event, which encompassed Friday and Saturday evenings, marked the first time the titles had been hosted outside a major metropolitan venue, but the action and the strong crowd at Bathurst Panthers made it a success.
On top of that, joint promoter Jamie Fallon of Snakebite Boxing Bathurst, was delighted to see how the four locals performed in the event open to those with five or less career fights.
Bathurst’s Tyson Keogh was crowned national champion in his 54 kilograms junior division, the 14-year-old bettering Tasmania’s Branden Langley in the final.
Though the duo were the only two in that division and advanced straight to the battle for Australian honours, Fallon said the Snakebite boxer deserved his win which was sealed inside of the three scheduled 1.5 minute rounds.
“Tyson stopped the other kid in the third round, he won the gold medal. I was really proud, Tyson is one of our characters in the gym. He can be distracted at times, but then he can be really focused and he’s got a real comedic personality,” Fallon said.
“He turns up at the gym all the time and with that work, he’s getting better. He had a fight in Sydney before and didn’t go as well as he did on the weekend – it was so good that he won, he landed a lot.”
Cowra native Shannen Manton of MAK Boxing was the other Central West talent to win gold. The 22-year-old fought in the 71kg division.
“He had two fights on the first day, which is very, very hard, but he absolutely killed it and won both of them to go through to the final,” Fallon said.
“The other boy pulled out of the final due to illness, so Shannen got the gold medal. But he really deserved it, he was awesome. He was prepared for the final and I’m pretty sure he would’ve easily won it.
“He really impressed me.”
Snakebite’s Billie-Ellen Ryan also advanced directly to the final in her female 54kg division. Though she was beaten by Bondi’s Linn Sandstrom, Fallon said there was plenty to like from the Bathurst debutante.
“She was unlucky, she ended up drawing a girl who had the most fights possible to attend the titles. So Billie was obviously nervous, her rival was from a good gym in Sydney and had a very good record,” Fallon said.
“But Billie had the best attitude and in the fight she went awesome, it was absolutely amazing. She went right to the very end and just lost, the other girl said it was one of the toughest fights she’d had.
“She doesn’t lack confidence and I think she’s going to go far.”
Rowdy Boys’ Zane Klower was the other Bathurst fighter in action. Though he lost his 81kg elimination fight on Friday against Craig Donnelly, Fallon saw potential.
“He unfortunately got into a really strong fight against a tough opponent, it was just the luck of the draw,” Fallon said.
“That opponent went on to win the gold later on, but Zane put up a really strong fight right to the very end. That was his first ever fight … but he was prepared, he certainly had a go.”