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Boxing club’s day to remember

End-of-season event attracts more than 250 fighters, friends, families and supporters

28 July, 2017 — By Steve Barnett

Jerome Campbell and club chairman Mick Doherty

OVER 250 fighters, coaches and supporters from Islington Boxing Club came together on Sunday to enjoy a special end-of-season awards presentation and barbecue.

Held at their home gym in Hazellville Road, Upper Holloway, the celebration started with kids from the club’s junior competitive squad and infants classes collecting trophies for their continuous hard work and dedication to the sport.

Lamin Conteh and club president John Murphy

Among the “hardest winner to pick” was the recipient of the Courtney Fry Cup, which is presented to the best newcomer of the season. After much deliberation, the sought-after prize went to Slavisa Gegic, who is currently unbeaten after his first eight contests. Former light-heavyweight Fry showed up to present Gegic with the trophy.

In contrast to the Courtney Fry Cup, the winner of the Ron Hagland Cup, which is presented to the best club member of the year, was unanimous, with Amy Pu rewarded for her commitment to the club over the years.

Slavisa Gegic and Commonwealth gold medallist Courtney Fry

The prizes continued to pack a punch, with Masood Abdulah receiving the Terry Emberson Shield after being voted the most improved senior boxer of the year, while Dillon McDonagh won the Dony Spiro Cup for being the most improved junior boxer of the year.

Jerome Campbell walked away with the Tom Doherty Senior Memorial Cup, which is given to the most dedicated senior boxer of the year. Campbell was Islington’s most active boxer last season, stepping between the ropes 13 times in total.

Amy Pu and gym boss Lenny Hagland

The prize for the most dedicated junior boxer of the year went to Joshua Strong, who couldn’t hide his delight as he was snapped with the Gerard Smith Shield.

There were also big cheers as Mo Gharib and Connor Daly were announced as the best boxers of the year.

Dillon McDonagh and Cherrelle Brown

Gharib collected the Brian Regan Memorial Shield as the slickest senior fighter, while Daly, who is currently on holiday, made his winning speech via FaceTime after being awarded the Colin Webster Shield as the top junior boxer.

Masood Abdulah and club supporter Jeff Coletta

England international Mason Smith won the Ivan Bersch Memorial Cup after being recognised as the club’s most consistent boxer of the year, while Lamin Conteh won the A&R Cup after being voted as Islington’s best overall club boxer of the year.

Even though hands were sore from clapping and throats raw from cheering there was still time for two extra awards, which were presented to Cherrelle Brown and Derek McCann.

Mo Gharib

Brown was handed a Special Achievement Award in recognition of winning her third England Boxing Elite title in a row.

During a glittering and glorious amateur career she also won a National Novice title, along with gold and silver medals at the Three Nations Championships and Golden Girls Box Cup.

Overall Brown won 32 out of 35 contests, and has now decided, along with her Islington coaches, that the time is right to turn to the professional ranks.

Joshua Strong

Meanwhile gym favourite McCann was given the Unsung Hero Award for all the help and support he gives fighters around the club.

Looking ahead to the coming season, Harry Betteridge was named as Islington’s new junior club captain, while Scott Smart was named as the senior club captain.

Harry Betteridge and, right, club captain Scott Smart

Reflecting on the incoming leaders, club manager Reggie Hagland said he was delighted with the choices. “Harry is one of the most likeable lads in the club,” he said.

“He is well-mannered and attends training regularly and shows good leadership skills.

“Scott, meanwhile, was selected because of his attitude, commitment and loyalty. He is already heavily involved with coaching our infants, juniors and senior academy members and was a great choice to take over as the captain.”

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