Islington Boxing Club girls clinch record gold medal hat-trick at Sweden tournament

Islington BC squad for the Golden Girls Box Cup in Sweden (left to right): Natasha Rhoden, Charlotte

Islington BC squad for the Golden Girls Box Cup in Sweden (left to right): Natasha Rhoden, Charlotte Briant, Elena Narozanski, Bobbi-Lee Wyatt. Pic: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Islington BC secured a hat-trick of gold medals at the Golden Girls Box Cup in Sweden – the club’s best ever performance in the annual tournament.

Charlotte Briant, who had to settle for a silver medal 12 months ago, went one better this time and she was joined at the top of the podium by team-mates Natasha ‘Nutty’ Rhoden and Bobbi-Lee Wyatt.

And the fourth member of the Islington team, captain Elena Narozanski, missed out on the chance to complete a 100 per cent record for the Hazellville Road club as she was edged out in her semi-final.

Wyatt, only 11 and with two unbeaten contests behind her prior to the Sweden trip, was first into the ring to face L Hokerud of Halmstads BC in a diploma class B bout at under-39kg.

The Islington youngster took the centre of the ring, catching her opponent with some good jabs and throwing a variety of punches.

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A strong three-punch combination in the second round forced Hokerud to take a standing count and, although Wyatt eased up in the closing stages, she had done enough for a unanimous points decision.

Narozanski faced a difficult test against another English boxer, Gemma Smith (Derby BC) – who was last year’s national amateur runner-up – in the elite class B Under-69kg category.

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Smith made a fast, aggressive start and threw a flurry of punches as she controlled the first round, but the Islington captain began to find her own range and fought back in the second.

Like the second, the third round was close to call, but Narozanski looked sharp in the last as she caught her opponent with good right-hand shots – however, it was Smith who gained a unanimous verdict from the judges.

Rhoden, who was boxing for only the second time, found herself up against another Derby opponent, Natasha Hutchinson, in the elite class C Under-69kg final.

After an even start, the Islington fighter began to score well with her jab, and her speed and punch variety gave her a clear edge over Hutchinson.

As the contest progressed, Rhoden started to relax, repeatedly catching her opponent with solid combinations, and it was no surprise when her hand was raised for a unanimous decision at the end of the third round.

Briant faced C Turesson of Ystads SK in the elite class C Under-75kg semi-final, and her natural aggression and work-rate soon enabled her to take control.

A powerful right rocked Turesson, forcing a standing count towards the end of the first round, and Briant pressed home her advantage, with another standing count in the next prompting the referee to stop the bout.

That took the Islington boxer into the final against M Forne (IKYmer), who tried to force the pace from the opening bell, and Briant adopted a policy of counter-punching to good effect.

Her movement and solid jab caused problems for Forne, who started to tire and took a standing count following a strong combination in the final round – enough to seal Briant’s gold medal and a hat-trick for Islington.

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