Claridge seals win in England's Aussie draw
A THRILLING night of international boxing saw England and Australia share the spoils in a contest which was nail-biting to the end.
The show, at the Sports Arena in West Hull, saw boxers from all over England take on an Australian select team, here on a two-week tour of the UK.
The 14 contests were evenly matched, giving fight fans the opportunity to watch some quality punching from skilled, technical boxers.
The contest ended 7-7 with the Australian team going into the final fight needing a victory to draw level.
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Australian fans among the 700-strong crowd saw their team get off to a rocky start with the first three fights won by English boxers.
Tom Bell, Popi Burton and Hull's Louis Claridge, of St Paul's Boxing Academy, took victory in the ring to make it three out of three for England.
Claridge, 16, boxed well to score a unanimous victory over Ryan Goode in the 63kg category.
Speaking after his fight, Claridge, who is the ABA's Junior National Champion at his weight, told the Mail: "He was not an easy boxer to fight at all.
"He had a really tight guard and I couldn't get a lot through so I had to work the body and open him up.
"I did my best to score points and I scored enough to win.
"He was a good, experienced fighter, very rough and ready and it was great experience to fight someone from so far away."
Tony Brackin, 14, was Australia's first winner of the night in the fourth bout.
The teenager from Brisbane was the unanimous winner against Josh Clarke of Mexborough in the 60kg category.
He said: "I really enjoyed it. It was great. The fights have been top quality and it has been great being here."
The show featured three female bouts with all six girls impressing.
Jonathan Thorne, of St Paul's Boxing Academy and Bobby Smith, of East Hull, were also in action, but lost out to their Australian opponents.
Thorne made a lively start but was knocked out in the second round after getting caught with a left hook to the chin. Smith lost out unanimously to Australia's Regan Desuk in the 70kg bout.
Mike Bromby, head coach at St Paul's Boxing, said: "What a tournament. It was top class boxing. The fights were well matched and what a great show.
"After Luke Campbell it is just another thing to put Hull on the map. The Australian boxers have loved it.
"The reason they come here is because they can trust us to match the bouts well. That's what it is all about.
"It was a great contest ending 7-7.
"There was plenty of camaraderie and it was a great evening."