Port Lincoln boxers gave a great display of their skills at the YMCA Leisure Centre for the Amateur Fight Night on Saturday.
More than 400 people gathered to watch the 13-fight card, which included three fights for challenge belts and all but two for locally-sponsored belts.
Port Lincoln’s George Shepherd was in the main event of the evening as he took on Jordan Richards from 12 Stars Boxing Gym for his 75 kilogram title.
Richards fired off good combinations throughout and had Shepherd backing up at times with his leading jab, but Shepherd did not back down and was able to get inside to work his own combos.
The judges would have liked Richards’ aggressive style and control of the centre of the ring, managing to land some shots past Shepherd’s defence.
Shepherd continued to push through all three rounds with the crowd behind him and despite a valiant effort, Richards was given the nod from all three judges, retaining his belt, as well as winning a local belt sponsored by the Port Lincoln Community Bank.
Fellow Williams Boxing Gym competitor Ronnie Bell also fell short in his attempt to win the 64kg belt from Adelaide’s Amon Hazara.
There were some quick exchanges between the two that Hazara looked to get the better of but Bell continued to press forward and land some body shots.
Hazara looked to have led for the first two rounds, utilising good head movement while firing off body and head shots with some uppercuts thrown in.
It looked like Bell was hurt in the third and after a second count the referee stopped the fight, with Hazara the winner of the challenge belt and the local belt sponsored by the Grand Tasman Hotel.
The other title fight saw Jesse Jones from Whyalla challenge Brando Hurt of Fortus Team Gym for the 69kg belt.
It was a close fight with Jones showing great speed to be in and out with his combinations while Hurt made the most of close exchanges, particularly with shots to the body.
The fight was too close to call but the judges gave the nod to Hurt who retained his belt via split decision, and he also won the local belt sponsored by Myers Seafood.
The night’s other local belts were sponsored by businesses including Sheds For Eyre, SA Sardines and Aussie Engineering and Steel Supplies.
The fight of the night was a 75kg bout between Port Lincoln’s Thomas Corston and Whyalla’s Corey Gibbons.
The two boxers came out with an exciting pace and were soon in the phone booth with close exchanges.
Corston used his reach to his advantage when jabbing and displayed good head movement to be elusive.
Exchanges between the two saw Corston landing good combinations while Gibbons managed to land some one-two shots himself.
Corston was aggressive throughout but Gibbons had an answer with some timely counters.
An exciting back and forth fight entertained the crowd but Corston was ultimately rewarded with the win.
Williams’ Leonard Letton was also rewarded for his tenacity with a split decision win against Whyalla’s Forbes Blandford.
Letton had to contend with Blandford’s reach and height difference but was able to get in and under to land flurries despite an early knock down.
Using his pace and in-and-out approaches Letton appeared to outland Blandford in the second and third rounds but Blandford continued to utilise his jab.
Letton ultimately walked away with the win.
Other local winners were Amy Charnock, who fought in her first bout, over BSA’s Samantha Simpson and Adrian Kraft who put on a strong performance against 12 Stars’ Viktor Jakupe.
Nikola Skoliarev came up short against River City Boxing Club’s Reece Bairstow, under 15 boxers Thomas Westcott and Josh Schmidt featured in the two opening bouts while Williams’ Luke Howie and Corey Slade stepped up to the plate for an exhibition fight.
Williams Boxing Gym head coach Scottie Williams said he was proud of every Port Lincoln fighter who fought on the night.
Boxing SA president Allison Goodes said the community showed great support for the event and the organisers should be commended.
“It's great to get a look at some of the local (boxers) and we will definitely keep an eye on them,” she said.