Rope and glory for clubs’ big-hitters

Boxers get time to reflect on stunning successes in the ring as they take a break for summer

Thursday, 21st July — By Steve Barnett

Jem Campbell cutout

Jem Campbell won her first Haringey Box Cup last month

THE sun is setting on a sensational season for dedicated boxers from across north London, who are reflecting on plenty of big hits between the ropes as they enjoy a short break from training.

The epicentre of the action was Westminster, with St Pancras ABC hosting their first dinner show in more than two years at the Nobu Hotel in Portman Square, Marylebone, back in April, while Islington Boxing Club packed out the Royal National Hotel in Russell Square, Bloomsbury, in May for a top night of amateur action under the chandeliers.

Among the highlights for the Saints was seeing emerging talent Jermaine Dhliwayo conquer the capital when he won the London Boxing Intermediate Championships.

April McNamara

Clubmate Christian Thomas also recorded some big successes – none more so than winning the London Elites division of the England National Amateur Boxing Championships, previously known as the ABAs.

Islington Boxing Club, meanwhile, took full advantage of the chance to land some more silverware before a campaign packed with medals and trophies officially came to a close.

And there was little surprise that at the heart of it was Jem Campbell, who won her first ever Haringey Box Cup at Alexandra Palace last month.

Beth Tyler

Boxing in the 66kg weight class, the 34-year-old beat current National Elite champion, Dione Burman, from Braunstone ABC, in the final via a 3-2 split decision.

“I was really happy winning the Haringey Box Cup, it was one competition that has always been missing in my career,” said Campbell, who was later voted the “best female elite boxer” of the tournament.

“I’ve been ABA Elite champion twice and Golden Girl champion twice, so to add the Box Cup to that list is something I’m really proud of because it’s not an easy tournament to win.

“It was the cherry on top to get the best boxer award – there were a lot of talented girls, so to get that recognition made it all extra special.”

Kesanna Bryan

Campbell is now domestically the most successful female boxer in Islington Boxing Club’s history. Her latest triumph also helped cap what has been another strong showing from the club’s impressive senior female boxing team.

Earlier this season no fewer than five boxers from the gym in Hazellville Road, Upper Holloway, successfully navigated their way through to the final in their respective weight divisions of the Golden Girls Box Cup, which was held in Sweden.

Campbell was, of course, part of the celebrations as she earned a commanding 4-1 split decision victory over reigning Norwegian Elite champion, Madeleine Anglesen, to retain the much-coveted title that she originally won in 2020 – putting in a display that would later see her named “best elite boxer” of the tournament, and recognised as a “hall of fame boxer” for successfully holding on to her crown.

Jermaine Dhliwayo, pictured with heavyweight Derek Chisora

With further glory in her sights, Campbell added: “The Golden Girl Box Cup is a very tough competition. I will have the chance to also become the first person ever to win it three times in November, so that’s a big target for me in the upcoming season.”

Islington Boxing Club’s glorious run of golds continued with April McNamara, who was competing at Under-60kg, defeating London Community Boxing’s Sophie Thorpe in the lightweight, Class C final via unanimous decision.

There was also a unanimous win for clubmate Ailsa Mullins, who defeated Veronica Greggio from Elite Boxing Club in the light-welterweight, Class C category.

The St Pancras squad at the Nobu Hotel in Marylebone

Boxing at Under-70kg, Kesanna Bryan defeated Laora Capizzi from Boxing Team Bellini to be crowned the Class C light-middleweight champion, while debutant Beth Tyler, who was drawn in a straight Under-81kg Class C final against Team Baden Wurttemberg’s Dreya Dag, also saw her arm raised in victory.

After seeing Islington Boxing Club deservingly named the “best club of the tournament”, CEO and committee member Lenny Hagland said: “In all my years as a coach, this was up there as one of the best trips we’ve had.

“All the boxers gelled excellently as a team and they all put in 100 per cent effort regardless of the outcome of the results.”

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