Boxing return is a knockout
More than 400 keen boxing fans of all ages from across the South West poured into Shepton Mallet Leisure Centre last Saturday for a night to remember.
They witnessed an action- packed evening as fighters aged eight and above showed off their talents in the ring as the town hosted its first amateur boxing event for 30 years.
Those taking part included Prestleigh's Western Counties and Southern Champion Millie Warren. The 16-year-old, who is currently completing an Advanced Apprenticeship for Elite Athletes at Filton College in Bristol, unfortunately lost her bout.
Warren's younger brother, Alfie, was victorious , however, while those having their debut bouts for Shepton included Jack Lintern and Ben Linham, with the former leaving the ring with tears in his eyes at the adrenalin of securing victory.
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"He smashed his way through," said event organiser Paul Warren. "The emotion of it all just got the better of him.
"It was an amazing night – very emotional for us all, especially the younger ones."
Competitors came from clubs across the region, including Chard, Watchet, Dorchester, Weston, Ilminster and Minehead, with organiser Warren, describing it as a "truly great night" and one he hopes to repeat on a regular basis.
"It is a great venue and the amount of support we got was absolutely fantastic," he added.
However, he was slightly disappointed that not everyone scheduled to take part in the show turned up, which meant there were only nine bouts instead of the anticipated 20.
Those boxers left disappointed include ten-year-old Tyler Kelly, who was due to make his debut in the ring but his opponent failed to appear, denying him the eagerly anticipated challenge.
Warren, his family and fellow boxing enthusiasts launched Shepton Mallet Boxing Club in August at the Paul Street Community Centre.
And he was keen to thank everyone for their support – particularly the sponsors, without whose financial help the event would not have taken place.
He singled out new Shepton- based cleaning company, Sparkle 4 Ewe, who were among the sponsors but whose name was left out of the programme, for which Warren apologised.
Other sponsors were: Aquamain Underground Solutions based at the Bath and West Showground, P J Lintern and Sons, Talk Fusion, Denela's Bakery and Sandwich Bars, Hanson Construction, Central Garage, the Charlton Inn, Albino Maintenance Ltd, Whitsone's Fish & Chips, Framptons, Wollf Stone, and Meal Machine all based in Shepton Mallet, P A Stone Ltd of Lamyatt, Electricians M & J James from Batcombe, The Bell Inn at Evercreech, Evercreech FC, Somerset Forge Ltd at Easton, Capelli Partners Hairdressing from Wincanton, Barmy, Andrew Prior, the Kelly Family, W R Benner, and Sports Aid.
"Without the sponsors' support this event would never have happened – and we are very grateful to them all," said Warren.
Nick Marsh, from Denela's, who were among the sponsors, added: "It was a brilliant first event. I think it is a great sport for youngsters to be involved in and teaches them great discipline. I was delighted to support it."