Islington boxer recovers from illness to reach third national final

Valerian Spicer (right)

Valerian Spicer (right) - Credit: Archant

Islington BC’s Valerian Spicer shrugged off a chest infection to clinch a place in the women’s national ABA final for the third time.

Spicer had been laid low in the week leading up to Sunday’s Class C Under-57kg semi-final at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium, but she put in a classy and controlled display to outpoint Karina Webster (Sydenham).

The Islington boxer held the centre of the ring from the opening bell and rarely allowed Webster to gain a foothold in the contest of four two-minute rounds.

Three sharp right hands in the second round should have led to a standing count, but Webster did her best to respond, only for Spicer to raise her game again.

Landing frequent combinations in the third and fourth rounds, Spicer ensured that the result was never in doubt as she gained a unanimous verdict from the judges.

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Spicer now joins her Islington team-mates Hazel Gale and Cherrelle Brown in this Sunday’s final at Brentwood Academy, with boxing due to get under way at 12.30pm.

Islington’s Paddy McCarthy maintained his impressive start to the season with a third straight victory against Ben Smith (Mole Valley) at the Five Star ABC show in Romford.

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The highly-regarded Smith began at a furious pace, forcing his opponent onto the back foot, but McCarthy responded with a series of trademark body punches that gradually took their toll.

As Smith began to fade, the Islington fighter gathered momentum and continued to apply relentless pressure until the final bell as he claimed a majority decision.

On the same show, Faizula Urakhail gained revenge for his points defeat by Debden’s Yunus Hussain two weeks earlier, winning the rematch on a majority decision.

Urakhail boxed impressively at mid-distance and his work on the inside proved sufficient to swing the decision in his favour.

However, a third Islington junior, Christy McCarthy, was beaten on a disputed unanimous points decision by the home club’s Ryan Waller.

McCarthy boxed behind a long jab and straight back hands and seemed to enjoy greater success than Waller, who tended to throw wild punches – but the judges saw it otherwise and awarded the Five Star boy the win.

Islington’s Tyrone Negasi narrowly missed out in his first tilt at national title glory as he went down on points in the NABC final at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham.

Facing reigning national champion and GB squad member Nick Ball (Kirby ABC) in the Under-50kg final, Negasi pushed his opponent all the way before losing on a unanimous, but tight decision.

Ball set the pace with his non-stop aggression and edged the first round after a fierce toe-to-toe exchange, but the Islington fighter never allowed him to settle.

Negasi fought back in the second, firing off combinations to head and body, and the pair traded powerful blows in a barnstorming final round, but it was the Kirby boxer whose hand was raised at the bell.

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