ARBROATH Boxing Club’s largest competition team entry for some time suffered attrition even before the fighters entered the ring at Inverurie.
For the ABS Ltd North District Championships at the Garrioch Leisure Centre, the Arbroath contingent started off with five carded fighters, but novice light-heavyweight Mal Milne was stranded off-shore and at the last minute Jamie McDowell was told he was three weeks too young to take part.
The remaining three boxers were light-welterweight Terry Ballantine, welterweight Barry MacDonald and light-heavyweight John Cooper.
In a fast-paced semi-final Ballantine faced off against Aberdeen University’s Steven Ng.
Ballantine easily took the first round, and the second quickly followed with a standing count for Ng.
The third saw Ballantine step up the pace and the referee had to stop the contest to spare Ng from a flurry of crunching head shots.
Ballantine faced David Urbitis, Aberdeen University, in the final and although Urbitis’ height and reach advantage gave him the first round.
Despite his face taking some punishment in the first round, Ballantine used his ring maturity and fitness to drive Urbitis onto the ropes in the second round.
A straight right from Ballantine ended the fight and as his opponent crumpled Ballantine’s instinctive compassion saw him gently lower his opponent to the canvas.
The referee dispensed with the count and Ballantine was adjudged the North District novice light-welterweight champion.
In the welterweight class Barry MacDonald squared up against Steven Campbell, Perth Railway, in a very evenly matched contest.
The pair duelled toe-to-toe in two very close rounds and the third was a crowd pleasing barnstormer right to the final bell.
Unfortunately for MacDonald, a very slim margin saw the judges award a points victory to Campbell.
John Cooper’s semi-final in the light-heavyweight class was over almost before it began with barely a punch thrown.
His opponent Mark Henvey, Wellmeadow, managed to dislocate his shoulder after missing his first two punches and was forced to withdraw, handing the bout to Cooper.
In the final Cooper took the fight to the tall and stubborn Ross Houston, Highland Boxing Academy, and slipped his long leads to counter with hooks to the body and head.
In the second Cooper’s strength created openings but a defiant Houston fought back with straight lefts and rights.
The crowd were enthralled by the third as first Houston rattled Cooper with a terrific uppercut only for him to retaliate with a superb right-cross flush that left Houston shaken.
Exhausted by their titanic struggle and with no clear victor and with the five judges’ scores also tied a ‘count-back’ of scoring punches was used, resulting in John Cooper being declared the North District Open light-heavyweight champion for 2012.
All in all it was a great night for Arbroath Boxing Club and a showcase for all their hard work and extra training.
The club now boasts three champions, Terry Ballantine, John Cooper and Deon Johnston who recently won the Scottish Schoolboy Novice title.
Given the quality in the club and the titles up for grabs later in the season there is a good chance more titles could be added to that list.