Talented trio reach finals to raise hopes of more national titles at Hazellville Road club

Islington boxers and coaches face the camera (pic Reggie Hagland)

Islington boxers and coaches face the camera (pic Reggie Hagland) - Credit: Archant

Islington Boxing Club will have three boxers competing in the England Boxing National Senior Championships at Manchester Convention Centre on Saturday.

The trio – Connor Daly, Masood Abdullah and Jem Campbell – secured their progress last weekend to reach the finals of the competition.

Abdullah (under-60kg) was up first against Josh Wright (Salisbury ABC) and took the fight to his rival from the start to claim a comfortable unanimous points victory.

Daly (under-52kg) recorded his first ever stoppage win the following day against Devonport’s Danny Quinn, landing blows from the start and forcing the referee to wave off the contest with 20 seconds left in the opening round.

Masood then faced top lightweight seed and 2017 Elite champion Thomas Hodgeson (Birtley) in the national quarter-finals and was second best in the first round.

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But some stern words from his corner motived Masood to outwork his rival in the next two rounds and he was declared winner by a split decision to secure a semi-final spot.

Campbell (under-69kg) was drawn to box Omiah Taylor (Firewalker), having lost to her at the same stage of last season’s competition.

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And the Islington boxer was determined not to suffer again, taking the fight to the former Great Britain international in the centre of the ring, landing long jabs and straight arm punches to earn a split decision.

All three Islington boxers were back in the ring on Sunday for their semi-finals, with Daly defeating number two seed Muzzy Fuyanna (Middlesbrough) after a close contest.

Both flyweights had successes, with Daly bouncing back after losing out in the opening round to earn a unanimous verdict and a meeting with defending elite champion Hamza Mahmood (Hoddesdon BA).

Masood beat Cain Morris by unanimous decision, although judges scored the first round in favour of his opponent.

The Islington boxer produced good left hooks and straight shots to dominate the other rounds and set up a meeting with Joe Tyers (Darlington) in the finals.

Both Daly and Masood will hope to follow in the footsteps of previous Senior ABA winners from Islington, light-heavyweights John Beckles (1986) and Courtney Fry (1996), who won titles in club colours, as well as for Fairbairn, Repton and Salisbury.

Club spokesman Reggie Hagland said: “It’s been a long time since we had a winner in the senior male ABAs.

“Hopefully both boys will do it. Both are personal trainers and have the flexibility to train more often than most. They are both very dedicated to the sport and improving with each contests”

Meanwhile, Campbell defeated the game Ilena Ingram (Aston), landing clean shots in the first round and earning a split decision after receiving a warning for holding in the final round.

Hagland added: “Her confidence is starting to build up at the right time and there have been great improvements in her boxing ability in the last six months since she joined from Academy Luton.

“Jem gets plenty of sparring and learns off her team-mates and they learn off her. We’re proud to have one of, if not the biggest female squads in the country, there was 17 female competitive boxers training last Monday!”

Campbell, 30, is a physiotherapist for Nuffield Health and travels from her hometown Luton to the Hazellville Road club three nights a week.

She will face top seed and former elite champion Laura Stevens (Far Cotton) in the finals and Hagland concluded: “It’s lovely for the club, the coaches and the boxers to say that their club has three of their boxers/team mates in the finals.

“Who knows what it may lead to for them and the development of the club. However, Masood, Connor and Jem know there’s still work to do, so no celebrations yet!”

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