News Notes 18: Clean sweep at Welsh Fight Academy and four medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games

News Notes 18: Clean sweep at Welsh Fight Academy and four medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games

On Saturday, Mo Prior’s Welsh Fight Academy returned to Swansea for their second show and it was a clean sweep for the home corner at the almost full LC2 venue.

In the night’s most intriguing fight, Swansea’s southpaw Ricky Owen (16-0, 4KO) returned nearly six years after his last outing. The 32-year-old was last seen as a super-bantamweight, though is now a super-lightweight – 18lbs north. He handily negotiated a routine 40-36 win over Stockport’s Jamie Quinn (3-41-2). Surprisingly, the undefeated talent has never won a professional title and will surely be eager to end that.

Richie Garner, who is now working with Owen, was also in the home corner for Robert Studzinski (4-35, 2KO). Until then, the Llanelli-based Pole had appeared exclusively as the ‘away opponent’ and he made the most of his chance, overcoming Richard Harrison (2-23) courtesy of a 40-36 scorecard.

Commonwealth flyweight champion Jay Harris (11-0, 6KO) stayed active with a six round shutout of Ghana’s Michael Barnor (14-14-3, 10KO) in a non-title affair. Harris, trained by his former British champion father Peter, was fighting in his hometown for the first time ever, sparing his vocal fans the cross country trips they’ve become accustomed to.

Impressively, the 26-year-old up-and-comer has now faced six consecutive opponents with winning records. It’s boosted Harris’ development and the Welshman, who won his belt against ex-Olympian Thomas Essomba in February, is well-equipped for even sterner tests in the near future.

Newport’s Lee ‘Lights Out’ Churcher (13-3-1, 4KO) fought on a British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) sanctioned show for the first time since 2012. The former Welsh middleweight champion got back in to the swing of things by collecting every round against Kent’s six-foot Sonny Whiting (5-20-2, 2KO). The St Joseph’s Boxing Club member, who is coached by Tony Borg, will now turn his attention towards titles.

Stablemate Lance Cooksey (2-0) was in an equally routine run-out, banking all four rounds against Joe Beeden (2-49-1, 1KO). Sitting at ringside, Reece Carter scored the lightweight contest 40-36 to Cooksey and new official Chris Jones refereed proceedings.

Pontypool’s Kieran Gething (2-1-1, 1KO) had a rough start in the paid code, dropping a draw and decision loss on the road. However, the super-welterweight has settled down and in recent times, also signing to new manager Jamie Arthur, the Commonwealth amateur and professional ruler. Since then, Gething has looked more like the international amateur representative he was in years gone by, stopping Rob Brown in May.

Atherton’s William Warburton (23-119-9, 4KO) is no stranger to upsetting Welshmen, his record includes the scalps of hugely fancied Lewis Rees and even when he loses, the efforts against Dale Evans, Tony Dixon and Jamie JJ Evans were admirable. So it was a good result when Gething banked a 40-37 decision win when the pair met and banana skins were avoided.

Another fighting in his hometown was Mano ‘Lightening’ Lee (4-2, 1KO). The super-welterweight, trained by Gary Lockett, won every round against Jordan Grannum (2-4), which was scored 40-36. 24-year-old Lee looks to be over back-to-back losses to the aforementioned Warburton and on track to fulfil his potential, spotted early by ex-world champion Enzo Maccarinelli, his amateur coach at Bonymaen Boxing Club.

It was a successful weekend for the Lee family with younger sibling Sammy making history. The light-heavyweight (81KG) won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, spearheading a strong six man Welsh team.

There were silver medals for Jacob Lovell (64KG) and James Probert (50KG), while the Rhondda’s Rhys Edwards (60KG) took bronze after facing England’s eventual gold medalist Charles Frankham in the semi-finals, a frequent visitor to Newport to spar IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby.

Completing Team Wales’ boxing representatives, Jay Mun (75KG) and John Paul (54KG) were eliminated earlier in the competition.

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