Boxers mark ‘Red Lichtie’ Spitfire celebration

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ARBROATH Boxing Club’s recent show in the Royal British Legion Scotland clubrooms was to commemorate the Year of the Spitfire, when a boxing show had been held in Gayfield Park to help raise funds for the ‘Red Lichtie’.

Appropriately there is a picture of the Spitfire in the venue where the event took place, reminding everyone the reason for the effort during the war and why the boxing show was taking place.

From a well matched 11-bout bill there were eight featuring Arbroath’s new crop of budding champions. For some this was their very first contest, for others it was the first contest of the new season.

First in for Arbroath was Lewis Keith who faced Joe Hunt, Lochee Boys, in a close, skilful bout. Keith had height and reach advantage but Hunt was quick to get under the jab and land fast combinations. Keith fought back with good two-fisted attacks but Hunt used good defensive moves to avoid serious damage and quickly countered. Right to the final bell these two put on a great competitive performance. The judges awarded a close points win for Joe Hunt.

Ben Gibson made his debut against Stephen McNicol, Fair City, and took control of the contest from the first bell. Gibson’s upright classic boxing style exploited his height and, allied to fast stiff punching from both hands, he had McNicoll in all sorts of bother. Dominating the centre of the ring Gibson fired in accurate punch after punch.

McNicoll bravely tried to fight back but was totally outgunned and his corner threw in the towel in round two to save their man any damage. This was an emphatic win for Ben Gibson.

Brian Collins was the second debutant for Arbroath and his bout with Darren Roberts, Aberdeen, was real blood and guts light-heavyweight contest. The blood was mainly from Collins’ nose, the guts from the effort both these athletes put into the contest.

This was a real crowd pleasing exhibition which first one then the other tried to dominate. Collins, with the home crowd roaring him on, dug deep in the last round and swung things his way, catching the judges’ eye with his heavier accurate punches. The result was a points win for Brian Collins over a very game opponent.

Reece Johnstone made a welcome return to boxing in his bout with Hamsa Anwar, Lochee Boys. Once more the conditioning and skill of the Arbroath boxer was more than evident as he took control of the bout forcing Anwar onto the back foot and firing in hard head shots.

Anwar had a fast left jab that landed more often than it should have, but Johnstone shrugged off the minor irritant and continued to dominate. By the third round Anwar’s style had become more ragged and Reece Johnstone kept up the pressure, totally in control in winning a handsome points victory.

Michael Craig was the last of Arbroath’s ‘first timers’ and he faced Connor Smith, Fair City, in a well matched encounter. Craig used his height and reach to good advantage, long left leads and fast right crosses creating openings in his opponent’s defence.

However, Smith was a hardy lad and fired back with crisp right crosses of his own. The first round went by at a tremendous rate and both boxers were showing signs of tiredness. Craig dug deep and in rounds two and especially the third his better conditioning and determination began to reap benefits as he racked up the points. The judges all agreed and awarded Michael Craig an unanimous points win.

Terry Ballantine continued his winning ways with an emphatic stoppage win over Chris Ure, Perth Railway. From the first bell Ballantine hunted down his quary, landing thumping lefts and rights. Ure was unfazed at this time and fired back with crisp counters catching the eager Ballantine as he pushed forward.

In round two after forcing Ure to the ropes, Ballantine landed a perfect right to the chin followed up by a sharp left hook which pitched his opponent face first on the canvas. Although he rose to his feet by the count of eight the referee rightly stopped the contest. Terry Ballantine was a worthy winner.

Barry McDonald faced Chris Brown, Fair City, in an absorbing tight contest. Once more the Arbroath boxer was the stalker, forcing Brown back with hard jabs and right crosses. Brown responded with sharp, fast counters as he moved out of range.

This was a close contest until, in round three, McDonald raised his game and increased the pressure with some hard punches. Brown lost his earlier composure and began to look for the bell as McDonald was relentless in his attacks. The judges gave a convincing points win for Barry McDonald.

The final bout of the night featured the most experienced Arbroath boxer, Jamie McDowell, against Ewan Smith, Perth Railway. This contest was over nearly before it had begun. McDowell was out of action all last season due to injury and was keen to get back! From the first bell he was on top of his opponent, firing in wild hooks from both hands. Smith managed to escape from the onslaught only to be nailed by a hard right to the head. McDowell would not be denied and forced forward again. His relentless volume of punches landed on target and dropped Smith who took a ccount from the referee. Smith’s corner had seen enough and threw in the towel.

Jamie McDowell was back with a bang wining in the first half of the first round.

There were three other bouts on the very well matched card; Joe Cuthbert, Highland BA, won on points over Ryan Sinclair, Dundee; Jake MacDonald, Highland BA, won on points over Dominic McGraw, Dundee; and Kieran Swanson, Highland BA, won on points over Billy McIntyre, Aberdeen.

Once more Arbroath Boxing Club had promoted an exciting and well matched sport ing event which not only gave some of the combatants their first taste of competitive boxing but also commemorated an important event that took place 70 years ago, one that the members of the club were pleased and proud to be involved in.