IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Gold medals are worth the wait

Club’s boxers come out on top after reaching finals of national championships

01 November, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Masood Abdullah receives his gold medal

TWO boxers struck gold on Sunday as the arduous journey that is the England Boxing Development Championships came to a close.

Overall, Islington Boxing Club, which was formerly based in King’s Cross but is now in Upper Holloway, took a team of seven boxers to the national finals at the Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury. But such is the difficult challenge of the month-long elimination event, only two returned home with gold medals draped around their neck.

Competing in the Under-54kg Class A final, Laura Weis knew she was going to have to be at her very best as she went up against the unbeaten Linda Walker from Alliance BA.

Weis wisely opted to stick to boxing rather than getting embroiled in a fight against her Yorkshire opponent – a decision that paid off as she gained a unanimous victory after three testing rounds.

“Laura has come a long way in just under a year,” explained Islington club manager Reggie Hagland after the bout.

“She made her competitive debut on our home show last December – in a losing effort against Katie Goss from Westside ABC – and headed into these championships with only one win from four outings, a record that we always felt was harsh on her as she is a much better boxer than that, and was perhaps just missing that little bit of luck.

Laura Weis, the Under-54kg Class A champion

“This week will mark a year since she was promoted to our senior competitive squad. She is a dedicated boxer and fully deserves to be a national champion. We are all very pleased for her.”

Team Islington soon landed a second gold with Masood Abdullah defeating Jordan Sawyers, from Dunston ABC, via a unanimous decision in the Under-60kg Class B category. Abdullah won the first two rounds comfortably, catching Sawyers with shots to the head during the first round, while scoring with good body blows in the second.

However, in the third and final round, there was an accidental clash of heads which left Abdullah nursing a nasty cut, and resulted in the doctor waving off the contest. Despite the round finishing early, the judges still had to score it as a full round, which they awarded in favour of the Islington man.

“Masood has been a nearly-man on a couple of occasions, losing only a few contests, all on close split decisions,” said Reggie. “He left no stone unturned in his quest for glory.”

Among the disappointments for Islington was seeing Slavisa Gegic’s unbeaten 21-bout record come to an end. He lost a close 3-2 split decision against South Wye Boxing Academy’s Yusuf Abdullah in his Under-69kg Class ‘B’ final.

Gegic started off strong, steaming forward and giving Abdullah a standing-eight count early on in the opening round. He took the lead from all five judges, but then gave away the second round as he allowed the vocal crowd to get to him. In an exciting final round, Gegic and Abdullah went toe-to-toe in a thrilling contest that could have gone either way – with the judges scoring it in favour of Abdullah by the tightest of margins.

Despite putting in a series of spirited performances in the ring, there were to be no more golds this year for Islington, with Sunni Torgman, Charlotte Briant, Chris Cunningham and Lina Dhayatkar all coming off second best in their respective finals.

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