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Islington Boxing Club teenager wins national junior title

PUBLISHED: 16:50 20 April 2016

Islington BC's Tommy Kerrigan with his national junior cadets Under-80kg belt

Islington BC's Tommy Kerrigan with his national junior cadets Under-80kg belt

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Islington BC teenager Tommy ‘The Tank’ Kerrigan has been crowned a national champion despite being denied his chance to box in the final – again.

The 15-year-old was left frustrated last year when he gained a bye to the England Boxing Schools Championships Under-72kg final, only for his opponent to pull out through illness.

Because Kerrigan had not boxed at all in the tournament, England Boxing refused to grant him the title – and he was left twiddling his thumbs again last week after reaching the Under-80kg final of the national junior cadets championship.

This time, at least, Kerrigan’s quarter-final win over David Kulls (Ockley ABC) in March meant he was eligible for the championship.

However, the Islington fighter, who has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years, admits he would prefer to have secured the title in the ring.

“I’ve been there ready to fight for the last two years and nobody’s turned up,” Kerrigan told the Gazette. “I’d love to have fought for the title – that would have been something to remember.

“Last year the other boy weighed in, then he pulled out and they wouldn’t give me the title, which was heartbreaking. For every boxer, a national title’s always something you want to go for.

“Since then, I kept training hard and I’m proud of the way I boxed in the quarter-final. We could have had a rematch in the final if they’d wanted to do it like that.”

Kerrigan, who has been with Islington since 2009, will be leaving cadet level behind next season, when he hopes to compete in both the NABGC Championships and the England Boxing Elite junior tournament.

And he sees his future in the sport at heavyweight – perhaps even in the paid ranks.

“I’m looking to stay at this weight next year because I can make it easily and I feel stronger rather than tiring myself out,” added Kerrigan.

“I love being at Islington – the training’s really good and they look after you well.

“But I wouldn’t mind if one day I got a call about becoming a professional – being the next big heavyweight, like Anthony Joshua, wouldn’t be too bad!”

Islington BC heavyweight Sherif Musah missed out in the London final of the England Boxing Elite Championships, losing to Ifeayi Noiqi (Miguel’s ABC).

Musah overcame Jake Caswell (Earlsfield ABC) in the London semi-finals, working well on the inside and at distance and landing several head shots to take a unanimous decision.

But the Islington fighter was unable to produce a repeat performance in the final against Noiqi, whose long-armed attacks to head and body were enough for him to seal victory by unanimous verdict.

Conrad Francis was the only one among a quartet of Islington boxers to taste victory on a Horseshoe ABC show in Swindon on Friday.

Francis made good use of his basic skills to defeat home fighter Bobby Collard, stopping him with a venomous left counter-punch in the third round.

Mateusz Szczepkowski, boxing for the first time since December, was unlucky to lose to Horseshoe’s Marius Pilkas on a unanimous decision despite dominating throughout.

Szczepkowski floored his opponent in the first round after a series of heavy shots and had the better of the contest overall, but the decision went against him – while the offer of a rematch was rejected by the home club.

Islington’s Tashan Dwyer, who was making his debut for the club after switching from Battersea ABC, produced the cleaner punches against James Townshend (Horseshoe), but the unanimous decision went in favour of the home boxer.

Simon Collins also lost a unanimous decision against Horseshoe’s Will Wadsworth after an accidental clash of heads split open the Islington man’s cheek in the second round, forcing the contest to be abandoned.

n Former Hoddesdon BA fighter Dillion McDonagh triumphed on his debut for Islington with a split decision against Rashid Haider (East London BA).

McDonagh’s southpaw jab and counter-punching gave him the edge in the first two rounds and, although he faded during the third due to a lack of fitness, his earlier work was sufficient to secure the verdict.

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