New Horizon Boxing Club staged its first home show at the Palace Hotel on Saturday in a packed out Cushag Suite.
The event, the first open boxing show to be staged in the event, was sponsored by Home Style Solutions.
The vociferous home supporters were treated to a great night of amateur boxing that had nine New Horizon boxers feature in the 10-bout card.
The original 12-bout card was reduced to 10 because of last-minute pull-outs, with the organisers unable to re-match the boxers in the limited time before the event, but that did not detract from the night.
The show kicked off with three cracking skills bouts which are designed to give young boxers the platform to showcase their skills in front of a live audience in a controlled environment without the pressure of winning or losing.
All three New Horizon boxers took to the ring for the first time, beginning with Onchan schoolboy Oliver Cassidy against Liverpool’s Dylan Macintosh (Bootle ABC).
The visiting boxer got off to a quick start using his jab and straight right hands to good effect early on. Notably nervous going in, the Manx lad soon settled down and showed good defensive technique while looking to land with his own right hand.
The second round was much the same with both boxers showing good skills. By the time the bell went to start the third and final round, both had shaken off any nerves and looked like they were veterans of the sport, prompting the crowd to give a rapturous applause as both boxers’ hands were raised by the referee at the end of the contest.
The second skills bout featured another Onchan schoolboy, Mickey Bucknall, who faced Josh Yeats of the Wildcard Club in St Helens. There were no nerves shown in this one as both lads got off to a cracking start and had success with landing their punches.
The second was much like the first with both lads holding nothing back, but Bucknall looked to take over progressed and looked the stronger as the round finished.
The third round was another cracker as Bucknall got off to a quick start and pressed home his dominance, before Yeats dug deep and found success with his own right hand. This bout had the audience on their feet clapping as both boxers’ hands were raised at the end.
The third and final skills bout had Peel schoolboy Lucas Kneen up against another Bootle boxer in Kai Sanderson. Slightly the taller of the two, Lucas dominated the early action with a ram rod jab but Sanderson was not to be outdone and, as the round progressed, he started to find a home for his right-hand counters.
In a lively second round, both found success as the action swung in both directions. The third and final round lived up to the previous two and again had the local supporters on their feet, as both lads left everything in the ring.
The first of the competitive bouts had New Horizon’s Towson Barton facing off against his much shorter opponent, Patrick Quinn-McDonagh (Runcorn ABC).
The significant height and reach advantage and the slick southpaw skills of the Manx boxer meant that the Runcorn lad was up against it from the bell. Towson got off to a good start, boxing to instructions and keeping his opponent on the end of a crisp southpaw jab and straight left hand.
McDonagh was forced to rush forward and put pressure on the Manx lad, but Barton dealt with this by boxing cleverly on the back foot and used his right hook to good effect. Runcorn lad might have been small in stature but showed a big heart as he constantly came forward looking to land that big punch.
The second round saw the Runcorn boxer pick the pace up and soon had Barton on the ropes and forcing him to engage, Barton was happy to oblige and mixed it up, finishing off with a great right hook as he pivoted off the ropes and out of danger.
The third round saw Barton cement his dominance with some slick boxing. McDonagh was always in the contest and showed lots of courage and determination but was always second best, as all three judges agreed in awarding Barton the unanimous decision.
The officials were so impressed by both boxer’s attitude, determination and skill that they awarded this contest best bout of the night.
Local favourite Sonny Finch was up next in a junior contest with Mansfield’s Jack Trenton. Both were cautious in the early stages but this didn’t last long as the bout sprang into action with Finch initiating the attacks.
The New Horizon lad started to use his height and reach advantage to good effect, keeping Trenton on the end of his long jab and controlling the distance well.
In the second round Trenton found another gear and pressed the action. But with both boxers eager to gain an advantage, they tied themselves up at times and forced the referee to speak to them to tidy it up.
In the third and final round Finch got off to a quick start and returned to the long-range boxing that gave him the edge in the first round. Trenton was always in his bout, but the Manx lad’s fitness got him through to the end where he was awarded a unanimous decision.
In a well-matched youth contest, Braddan’s Ryan Hughes went up against Wildcard ABC’s Harvey Mather in a keenly-contested bout that pitted the orthodox style of Hughes against the slick switch-hitting skills of Mather.
Hughes worked behind the jab well looking for openings for his right hand, while Mather showed good defensive skills in avoiding shots and coming back with counters of his own, meaning the St Helens boxer’s slick skills and clever counter punches gave him a slight edge in the first round.
Hughes was not to be outdone and upped the ante in the second round, mixing his punches up well to the head and body. In a seesaw round, Mather came back with some big right-hand counters but it looked like Hughes had got himself back into the bout with his higher work rate.
This bout was in the balance going in to the third and final round and once again its was Hughes pressing the action while Mather relied on his slick defensive work and fast counter-punching.
Hughes pressed the action to the final bell and his fitness gave him the slight advantage as the referee raised his hand in victory after a hard-fought close bout. He was also awarded the best New Horizon boxer of the night accolade.
In another youth contest, New Horizon’s Ben Ellison was pitched against Dajland Istefi (Runcorn). The Manxman started on the front foot, landing a big right hand, as the early action was frantic with both boxers looking to gain an advantage.
As the round progressed it was evident that Istefi’s punches carried more power and Ellison was soon forced back to the ropes where he sustained a barrage of punches that forced the referee to give Ellison a standing count.
The Manx lad fought back bravely but soon found himself forced to cover up on the ropes and the referee once again stepped in to give him a second standing count. The referee stopped the contest to save Ellison from any further punishment.
In a senior middleweight contest, New Horizon’s Charlie Bucknall was in against Leicester’s Manrajan Sohota (Golden Boy). Bucknall started the bout on the front foot and used his jab and straight right hands well to keep his slightly smaller opponent at arm’s length.
Sohota showed excellent defences as he slipped and blocked a lot of Bucknall’s early attacks, before launching his own counter-attacks. As the round progressed, Bucknall started to read his opponent more and was able to land his own right-hand punches.
In the second round Bucknall was more aggressive and had success when he put the pressure on, although Sohota was not to be outdone and looked the stronger puncher when he connected with left hooks and looping right hands. The action ebbed and flowed as both boxers landed heavy blows.
The third round was another barnstormer, with both boxers emptying the tank and landing at will to the delight of the vociferous crowd.
This was a close one to score as every round was evenly balanced, but the judges went for Sohota’s slicker boxing as he was awarded a unanimous decision.
The final bout of the night was a senior cruiserweight affair where New Horizon’s Matty Kinvig went up against Cameron Simpson of Title Shots in Widnes.
The much taller southpaw boxer Simpson dominated the early action with his cleaner straight punches, Kinvig seemed to have trouble working out the southpaw stance, therefore his only option was to try and get close to his man and work away to the head and body.
As the round progressed, the Manxman had some success in backing up the Widnes man to the ropes and applied some good, sustained attacks that reaped reward, but it was Simpson’s cleaner punching that gave him the round.
Kinvig started the second round targeting the body with the right hand before launching left hooks to the head, this tactic worked well and seemed to ruffle the feathers of the away fighter. As the round progressed, Simpson found his range again and landed some heavy straight punches, but Kinvig’s tenacity and work rate edged him the round.
With one round each, this bout was balanced on a knife edge and all set up for a cracking finale - and these two lads didn’t disappoint.
Both boxers showed great fitness as this bout was fought at a hectic pace in sweltering conditions. Kinvig pressed the action again, targeting the body and mixing punches up to the head, while Simpson was happy to mix it up close and found success with upper cuts.
At the final bell both boxers were exhausted as they had given everything in pursuit of victory, the home crowd showed their appreciation as they gave these two brave lads a standing ovation. With honours even after two rounds, the result hinged on the final stanza, with the judges giving it to Simpson on a split decision.
The 10-bout card included a support bout between two boxers from England in a lively youth contest which saw Travis Danwell (Newark) out-point Storm Owen (Wildcard) on a unanimous decision.
This show was billed as New Horizon against an East Midlands select team, but in the weeks leading up to the event the Midlands team were hit with a number of withdrawals, leading the match makers to have to search for replacements a little closer to home. Several Northwest England clubs stepped in to fill the gaps.
The next New Horizon show will be back at the Palace in the new year, while the club is also planning trips away to keep the boxers busy.
Anyone interested in taking up amateur boxing is welcome at the New Horizon gym in Palace Road, Douglas - for information contact the ‘New Horizon Boxing Club’ page on Facebook.