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It was a successful weekend for Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jamie Arthur who saw three of the boxers he coaches win Welsh ABA titles at the Novice Championships in Swansea.
The first of the successes came from 38KG schoolboy boxer Dylan John who fought Chepstow's Dylan Stroud, an opponent with twice as much experience. Every round was competitive but it's was John's extra edge as he had the first and last say in exchanges that won him the bout unanmously.
The 60KG Junior final between Arthur's Gym's Tom James and Maelor's Zak Williams had an argument to be the best fight of the day. Typically, James threw an extraordinary amount of punches but for the first time in the championships, he was unable to overpower his opponent and had to show his back-foot boxing brain to win his first Welsh vest on a split decision.
Arthur's Gym's undefeated Robbie Evans won his second consecutive novice title and he was made to work hard for it due to a gutsy effort from Roath's Anton Boston. The 57KG Senior final was hard fought with Evans attempting to outbox Boston by picking him off as the Roath man applied a ton of pressure. In the end it could have gone either way but it was Evans' cleaner punching which caught the judges eyes who gave him a split decision win.
Arthur said, "We're not surprised by our success and that's not arrogance, it's because we know how well and hard the boys have worked in the gym. They've done everything we've asked of them and it's not been easy but we told them it would be worth it when they win and now they're seeing that. They're a positive example to a lot of people and they deserve to savour the moment."
"We're very happy for them and this is an important time in their development. Now they've had a taste of winning a title, it's my job to make sure they don't become complacent and they work harder than ever to replicate this next year. As for our other boxers in the gym, this shows that it can be done and they have the ability to do it too."
There could have been more Welsh vests added to Arthur's Gym's haul as seniors Sparky Price and David White Jnr saw their opponents withdraw days before the final. There was hard luck for Matt Defis who endured a tough run in to the Senior 81KG final. Defis was winning the opening rounds of the final, only to be forced to retire at the end of the second round when he tore his right bicep.
"Three Welsh champions is great but if we had a bit more luck then we could be sat here with six! Sparky and David were unlucky, they trained hard and were there to fight but their opponents pulled out. It's nobodies fault, it's just what happens and it was the same for Matt. He's got a bad injury and it's typical that it happened in the final but it'll make him more hungry for the future."
Amateur boxing classes at Arthur's Gym are open to all ages and abilities. For more information, visit: www.ArthursGym.com