Al-Ghena sees off Islington team-mate to land his first ever London title

Yaser Al-Ghena won his first London tile at the weekend. (Pic: REGGIE HAGLAND)

Yaser Al-Ghena won his first London tile at the weekend. (Pic: REGGIE HAGLAND) - Credit: Archant

Islington BC’s Yaser Al-Ghena sealed the first London title of his career as he got the better of club team-mate Inder Bassi in the National Association of Boys & Girls Clubs Championship on Sunday.

Claudia Wilmot-Smith reigned victorious on her Islington BC debut.

Claudia Wilmot-Smith reigned victorious on her Islington BC debut. - Credit: Archant

The welterweight, who went into the NABGCs on the back off an impressive victory on his Islington debut at the club’s dinner show a week earlier, faced Thomas Bennett (Repton ABC) in the first ever London Class D Under-21 contest of its kind on Saturday.

After conceding the first round Al-Ghena came back strongly, putting pressure on the Repton boxer on the inside, starting to move his head more and coming back with counter-punches as well as useful body blows to claim the second round comfortably.

The third round provided more of the same, with Bennett losing confidence and fitness, and Al-Ghena took full advantage to win the Under-69kg contest in convincing fashion via an unanimous decision.

A day later he faced Islington teammate Bassi, who was making his first ever appearance for the club after receiving a bye to the final.

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It proved to be a very competitive contest at Harlow Greyhound Stadium, with two very contrasting styles on show at welterweight.

However, it was Al-Ghena who pressed the fight better and hit the heavier punches, although Bassi boxed well behind his long jab.

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All three rounds were closely fought but Al-Ghena eventually won the showdown by a very close decision to secure his first London title and book his place in the national quarter-finals, which take place next Sunday.

Elsewhere, Islington BC’s Claudia Wilmot-Smith reigned victorious on Saturday as she made her debut in the first ever London Community Boxing open show.

Wilmot-Smith was up against Sidney Poole (LCB), who had slightly more experience, having fought on three occasions previously.

Despite that the Islington boxer showed no signs of nerves, producing a very good performance on her first amateur boxing appearance.

She used fast jabs effectively, catching Poole and landing body shots in the early stages as she comfortably took the opening round.

To Poole’s credit she came back strongly in the next round, upping her work-rate and landing some telling right-hand head shots on Wilmot-Smith. However, the Islington boxer was still scoring with fast jabs and continued to gain the upper hand.

In the last round, Poole was feeling the pressure of being continuously hit with quick-fire jabs, and she quickly began to tire.

It proved to be a debut to remember for Wilmot-Smith, who is a barrister by day, as she secured victory at the Copleston Centre in Peckham courtesy of a split decision.

Slavisa Gegic also enjoyed a debut to remember after winning a unanimous decision against Mustapha Dumbuya (White Hart Lane BA).

However, there was disappointment for Mason Smith on Sunday as he was eliminated by a controversial split decision against Elliot Whale (Nemesis ABC) in his Under-64kg Class D London final.

Smith started off the first round cautiously, controlling the ring and the pace of the contest.

His ring craft was excellent and he closed Whale down and applied pressure throughout, while stepping in with his back hand and left-hook punches to win the opener.

Whale came out a lot stronger in the next round though, starting to use his southpaw jab a lot more and to good effect while beginning to keep Smith away from him.

It began to turn into a scrappy affair between the two light-welterweights, but Smith stared to apply the pressure again towards the end of round two.

The last round was similar, with Smith’s strong left hooks and body blows causing Whale problems but, despite that, the latter was given the verdict.

Islington’s other entrant, Chris Owuegbusi (Under-75kg, Class D) was unable to take part in the semi-finals of the competition after he weighed in over the maximum amount and was removed from the tournament.

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