BANBRIDGE ABC launched the Elite Ulster Amateur Boxing Championships on Friday evening in The Venue, Derry with the Nine Counties Youth 15 years 54 kg Ulster Final between Conor Martin and representing Townland ABC, Andrew Donnelly.
This was a scene which emulated the Sky Box Office Big Fight Nights with bright lights, hyped up music and the deafening roars of the crowd heralding that coveted team flanked walk to the ring. It was a big stage for the young Banbridge lad, but coach Phillip Stevenson was determined to keep the focus,
He said, “Conor and I talked about the venue, the noise and exactly why he was there. It was really important to keep that to the front of his mind, not only because Conor was first onto the canvas for the Ulster Elite Finals but also because this was one of the first events in the European City of Culture programme and there were a lot of big names there.
“To his credit Conor remained focussed from the start and I was happy that he was going to do a good job.”
The young Banbridge teenager took the first round 9-3, scoring with fast combinations and an accurate left hook. The Townland lad was stronger in the second round and tried to back Martin into the corner but Martin was having none of it and when the bell went to close the second round the scores sat at 13-5 in favour of the Banbridge lad.
The job had to be finished in the third round and Martin moved and weaved and caught Donnelly with an unexpected right uppercut. The referee called a standing count for Martins opponent and Conor finished the round and the contest with a 19-6 win.
It was a great start to a fabulous night of boxing which didn’t finish until the early hours but even so it was a memorable occasion and a delightful trip back to Banbridge for the team.