Ashley Banks has travelled 1,000 miles over the past five weeks on his way to winning the England 63kg Boxing Junior Novice Championships.
The Banbury Boxing Club fighter took the title with a superb win in Saturday’s final at Leysdown-on-Sea, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
The 16-year-old held his composure and let his technical boxing qualities flow throughout the championships from start to finish. Saturday’s final was against the Midlands and North of England champion Rahul Gondalia from Karmand BC (Bradford).
The opening of the first round saw both boxers taking the same tactic, trying to counter punch their opponent.
The pace picked up as the round progressed with both landing jabs simultaneously on numerous occasions but Banks started to follow up with combinations of hooks and straight punches that tipped the round in his favour.
The pace stepped up dramatically in the second round with Gondalia coming out on the front foot and working hard to get closer to Banks and work inside. There were very few cleanly landed shots but work rate and aggression gave the round to Gondalia.
After a stern talking to from his coach Ben Malcher, Banks stepped up a gear in the third to produce high tempo, accurate attacks throughout, with speed that left Gondalia at a loss to defend or counter and he hardly landed a glove on Banks in the whole round.
The long hours of commitment and training in the Broad Street club’s gym in Banbury shone through and the judges unanimously gave the bout and title to Banks.
Malcher said: “Ashley had a particularly tough weight category from the start and has overcome solid opposition at every stage.
“I knew from the start Ashley had all the makings of a champion, not only has he got great boxing ability.
“He is a bright kid who works hard and has stays focused on his objectives both inside as well as outside of the boxing ring.
“I would like to think this is just the beginning of a much bigger boxing career for Ashley on the England boxing scene but only time will tell.
“Credit must go to all the volunteer coaching staff at the boxing club who continually sacrifice their time for the club and who travel long distances to guide and support young people like Ashley to achieve their goals.”